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.
The Yakima County Development Association and the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce recently announced that three emerging businesses were selected as winners of the association’s fifth annual business plan contest. These entrepreneurs were selected by seven judges that met with business plan contestants in late January.
Claim Clothing won New Vision’s Enterprise Challenge and will receive $10,000. Claim Clothing is a new business that started last spring in downtown Ellensburg. Claim Clothing provides young contemporary women's clothing, denim, jewelry, accessories and handcrafted home goods to the greater Kittitas Valley. Owner Megan West runs the store and has a strong retail background complimented by a degree in Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising from Central Washington University. Her husband Jared in also involved with the business helping with marketing and advertising.
Nana Kate’s placed second in the contest and will receive $5,000. Nana Kate’s specializes in local, organic, ingredients that make for delectable meals and snacks that are healthy, made from scratch, and include gluten free and vegan options. Owner Katherine Platt operates the company’s store in Selah but sells a lot of their products wholesale to local coffee stands and eateries.
Chestnut Market took third place in the contest and won $2500. Chestnut Market is a startup gourmet deli and grocery store that plans to open sometime in 2015. Entrepreneur Geoff Howell plans use his extensive experience in the restaurant and wine industries to pinpoint popular products and provide outstanding customer service to people in the Greater Yakima area.
The other five final contestants also excelled in the Enterprise Challenge. According to New Vision’s Jean Brown, “This is the strongest group of finalists we have ever had - all of them have enormous potential in terms of launching or growing their businesses. Everyone is a winner in our contest. The hardest part is not having cash for everyone.”
Megan West, owner of Claim Clothing, was thrilled to win the contest: “The Enterprise Challenge gave us the opportunity to look at where we are as a business and where we want to be. It helped reaffirm that we are making progress and allowed us to set new goals for the upcoming year. We are so excited about our future. The prize funds allow us to grow our business online and we are very excited about this new opportunity.”
New Vision’s Enterprise Challenge started in October and featured several educational events where contestants could learn more about managing a business. The development association plans to evaluate the Enterprise Challenge over the next couple months. According to Brown, “We have run a great contest for the last five years and we always want to look at how we might expand or change the contest to make it even better.”
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