Yakima County Development Association - Eight Advance to Finals in Enterprise Challenge

Jean Brown

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Jean Brown

Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner.  It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.

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Eight Advance to Finals in Enterprise Challenge

Eight Advance to Finals in Enterprise Challenge

November 09, 2011

We are excited to announce that eight emerging businesses are advancing to the final round of the Enterprise Challenge business plan contest.  These entrepreneurs were selected by a group judges that met with and evaluated business plan contestants at an afternoon trade show last week.The contestants went all out on their booths, and their business plan summaries.  One judge commented, “The quality of the business plans were so much better than last year, and the contestants seemed to be much more prepared for the business world. It was a very tough competition this year, very exciting.” Investment Round The competition started with 26 contestants; last week our contestants participated in an afternoon trade show meeting with a group of approximately 30 judges who evaluated each business and its chances for success.  After providing us their scores and evaluations, the judges ultimately picked the following companies to move on in our contest:

  • Hop Central Brewing Company – planning to open a production brewery in downtown Yakima;
  • Resource Recovery Group, aka Milt’s Original Gourmet BBQ Pellets – manufactures flavor laden BBQ pellets made from local fruit wood;
  • IQ Tax Center – providing full service tax, bookkeeping, and financial support to consumers and small businesses;
  • Yakima Food Cooperative – working to establish a cooperatively owned and managed healthy foods store in Yakima;
  • Creme – planning to start a dessert cafe and coffee bar in downtown Yakima;
  • Washington Vision Therapy Center helps patients address vision problems that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lens;
  • Serenity Falls & Watergardens– providing general landscaping and specialized waterfall landscaping services; and
  • K5 Contracting – a specialty contractor that sells and installs various home and commercial insulation products.

It was very difficult to cut our field down to the eight finalists.  We had a stellar group of entrepreneurs involved in the Enterprise Challenge this year and we know that several contestants who did not make our cut will nonetheless launch very successful enterprises. Next week our finalists travel to Seattle to participate in Entrepreneur UniversityThis daylong workshop is a great experience for small businesses and our contestants will bring home lots of valuable advice and information.  After the Seattle road trip our entrepreneurs will have about three weeks to finalize their plans. Our office is working to pair each contestant up with a coach or coaches that can advise them in areas where they need additional help.  These coaching activities will unfold between now and early December. Final judges will meet the contestants on December 8th and help us select our contest winners.  We will announce our prize winning entrepreneurs at our awards luncheon on December 9th.


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"The [Enterprise Challenge] business plan contest was really a kick start. I think the best part of the contest was that you could look at your dream and turn it into a real business." - Carol VanEvenhoven, Co-Owner, Hop Central Brewing Company