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 announced today that three emerging businesses were selected as winners of the association’s sixth annual business plan contest. These entrepreneurs were selected by six judges that met with business plan contestants yesterday.
Yakima Hop Candy won New Vision’s Enterprise Challenge and will receive $10,000. Yakima Hop Candy is the proud creator of LollyHops. This boutique pop is infused with locally grown hops and comes in more than 14 natural flavors. The young company has experienced a lot of exposure since they are the only Hop infused sucker on the market. Their hop candies are sold all over the world and have become a popular addition to events by allowing customers to personalize the labels. With full time efforts from the founder Heather Hadsel they plan to venture into other hop related confections.
Pearl Street Optical placed second in the contest and will receive $5,000. Rachel Crites took her vast experience in the optical field and added her own style and flare to open the newest pharmacy for your eyes in Ellensburg. Pearl Street Optical offers prescription glasses, contacts, sunglasses, and recreation eyewear in a wide range of prices and styles. Rachel give the boutique experience to each customer with personalized service and care.
Mama Hogues Kitchen took third place in the contest and won $2500. Sabin Hogue launched her savory meals to go business with the intent of bringing busy families back around the table to enjoy a wholesome meal. She offers customers quick healthy meal choices that are simple to order, pick up, and pop in the oven. Her love and care for her customers is evident in her business model.
The other final contestants also did an amazing job in the Enterprise Challenge. According to New Vision’s Jean Brown, “This group of finalists impressed all the judges, they are all committed group of entrepreneurs - 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 prize money for everyone.”
Heather Hadsel, owner of Yakima Hop Candy, was thrilled to win the contest: “The Enterprise Challenge gave us the opportunity to evaluate what we are doing now and where we want to be in the near future. We are excited to put the prize money into growing our facility to serve our growing customer demand.”
The Enterprise Challenge started in October and featured several educational events where contestants could learn more about starting and managing a business. According to Brown, “the contest has helped more than 130 contestants over the last 6 years. We are always on the lookout for ways to give entrepreneurs a contest experience that provides them with the tools they need to be successful.”