STEPHENVILLE (Tuesday, January 6, 2015) — A business plan competition that will net thousands of dollars to three area entrepreneurs is currently underway in Erath County, with the final four orientation sessions to be held this month.
Entrepreneurs of Erath (EOErath) is a program designed to help entrepreneurs launch or expand a business in Erath County. EOErath will award prizes valued at $45,000 to local entrepreneurs who write the best business plans, with prize monies intended to serve as a catalyst to develop a new business or develop an existing business.
Sponsored by Tarleton State University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and College of Business Administration, the city of Stephenville and the Stephenville Economic Development Corporation (STEDCO), this first-ever business plan competition hopes to foster entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in the greater Erath County area.
The competition is open to all new entrepreneurs, as well as existing businesses, which are willing to locate their business in Erath County. The top three finalist companies will receive cash prizes of $25,000, $15,000 and $5,000, respectively. In addition to the cash prizes, local professionals are providing many in-kind services.
In the first of three competitive rounds, the team submits an executive summary of its business plan, which serves as a brief snapshot of the business and to highlight the most important facts and concepts from the full business plan. Entrants must pay a $100 fee to be eligible.
Up to 15 entrants will be selected for the second round, at which time the formal business plan must be submitted. That business plan should detail the company overview, management/owner, any products and/or services, target market, strategy and implementation, and financials. A Tarleton student will be assigned to each entrant to assist in business plan development.
In the third round, up to eight finalists will make a brief oral presentation to a panel of judges on Friday, April 24. The winners will be announced at an awards luncheon at Tarleton on April 28.
The competition is open to startup and existing businesses that meet the eligibility requirement. Tarleton students, faculty and staff are encouraged to enter and may submit an individual business plan or work in a team.
To be eligible the entrant must:
1. Expect to create at least three new jobs in Erath County.
2. Agree to headquarter and operate primarily from within Erath County for a period of at least two years after receiving any prize money.
3. Have generated annual revenue in the past two years of less than $250,000.
Four remaining orientation dates will be held this month for contestants. All sessions will be in Room 172 of Tarleton’s College of Business Administration building on the Stephenville campus. Dates and times are: Saturday, Jan. 10 from 10-11:30 a.m.; Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 4-5:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 20 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; and Friday, Jan. 30 from noon to 1 p.m.
Tarleton SBDC has more than 26 years’ experience in writing business plans and will be available to assist entrepreneurs with all aspects of the competition. The SBDC will hold additional training on how to write a business plan and tips for ‘pitching’ the plan in February and March. A list of training class dates and locations is available at www.EoErath.com.
“We are excited about the positive economic impact this contest brings to the area, and expect to have new jobs created in Stephenville and Erath County as a result of this effort,” said Randy Burch, Tarleton SBDC director. “The competition is a group endeavor from the entire county. STEDCO made the competition possible by contributing the cash prizes. The Tarleton College of Business Administration, Dublin EDC, Tarleton SBDC, city of Stephenville, Chamber of Commerce and several community leaders are all providing assistance with the marketing and training for Entrepreneurs of Erath. I expect to see more than the three winners opening businesses within Erath County.”
For more information, contact Randy Burch at 817-573-7681. To learn more about Tarleton’s Small Business Development Center, visit www.tsusbdc.org.