Entrepreneurs of Erath select semifinalists, will announce winners May 12

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STEPHENVILLE (April 20, 2015) — An intense four months of business plan development is nearing a close as the finalists for Entrepreneurs of Erath are named on April 24.

Twelve semifinalists were selected by a panel of local entrepreneurs and from this group, the five to seven finalists will be named on Friday, April 24. Finalists will conduct oral presentations as the final step in their journey towards a total of $45,000 in cash prizes and an additional $27,000 of in-kind services.

Semifinalists include WHRL Solution, Pathways Early Autism Intervention, AJT Compliance LLC, More-Ganics, Soup & More/Goin’ Nuts, AA Conversions, Real Deal Rodeo, DFW HR Services LLC, Ingenuity Medical Design LLC, EasyFinder Remote Control, DmC Design and Texas Twister Cheer & Tumbling.

The winners will receive cash prizes of $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second, and $5,000 for third. In addition to prize money, winners will also receive an additional $27,000 worth of in-kind professional services from Boucher, Morgan & Young, Edwards & Stokes, and Lasater & Sparkman.

The winners will be revealed at the awards banquet at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 12 in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center at Tarleton State University. Tickets are priced at $25 each or $200 per table.  RSVPs are accepted by calling Sharon Iley at 254 968-9350.

Speaker for the banquet will be Cathy Bonner, a business entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience in leading a variety of multi-million dollar organizations in both the private and public sector.

The first Entrepreneurs of Erath program was initiated last fall by Stephenville Economic Development Corporation (STEDCO), Tarleton State University, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Stephenville Chamber of Commerce and Dublin Economic Development Corporation.

Spearheaded by Tarleton’s SBDC, participants were invited to attend orientation sessions to learn how to prepare a business plan for competition. The prospective or existing business is expected to create at least three new jobs in Erath County, must agree to headquarter or operate primarily from within the county for a period of at least two years after the award of any prize money, and, for an existing business, to have annual revenue in the past two years of less than $250,000.

The program targets entrepreneurs who are launching or expanding a business in Erath County by helping them prepare a solid business plan, which integrates creativity and innovation. In the first round, entrants submitted an executive summary of their business plan, and an overview of the important facts and concepts. The formal business plan was presented in the second stage of competition to demonstrate the company overview, management/owners, any products and/or services, target market, strategy and implementation, and financials. From this group, judges chose the finalists who will present oral reviews of their business plan on May 1.

Judges for the inaugural competition were:
• Barbara Terrell is active in volunteerism in Stephenville for the past 50 years. She was the first woman president of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, owned two retail businesses on the downtown square for 20 years, served on the Planning and Zoning committee of the city for 25 years and on the City Council for three terms.

• Joe Huddleston is senior vice president of AgTexas Farm Credit Services where he oversees the association’s capital markets and participation lending portfolio. He is active in the community with membership in Optimist Club, Chamber of Commerce, Tarleton Texan Club and on the board of Texas Health Resources. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty of Tarleton State University.

• John Moore is the current vice president of Craft Association, a manufacturers’ representative covering a three-state area for 12 companies who participate in the forging, casting and fabrication of high quality precision gearing and machining sectors. He is retired from FMC Technologies as operations manager of the Stephenville Fluid Control facility for 21 years.

• Brad Allen is co-founder of Rock House, Inc., a Texas healthcare corporation delivering services to developmentally disabled persons in eight Texas communities. He and his wife have owned and operated the A+ Cattle Ranch since 1979 and were named Stephenville Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Co-Entrepreneurs of the Year.

More details about the contest can be found at www.EoErath.com. For more information about the contest, contact Randy Burch at 817-573-7681. To learn more about Tarleton’s Small Business Development Center, visit www.tsusbdc.org.

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