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North of Boston Business Plan Competition now accepting applications

Posted by Terri Ogan  January 8, 2013 10:24 AM

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The 2013 North of Boston Business Plan Competition is now underway.

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University announced in a press release this week that center staff will be accepting applications for the popular competition, now in its ninth year, until 5:00 pm February 22.

. Designed to identify and encourage promising regional businesses, the competition offers cash prizes and provides an opportunity to develop a formal business plan and receive feedback from expert judges. Full details are available at enterprisectr.org..

Unlike many competitions, the North of Boston contest is open to all types of businesses—not just technology companies—willing to locate in Essex County or the Merrimack Valley. Companies must be less than three years old or, if older, have a new product, service, initiative or growth strategy. In addition, companies must anticipate having at least five full-time employees within two years.

The Competition attracts a wide variety of companies, as evidenced by the 2012 winners.

First prize went to Shady Oaks Organics of Newburyport, which grows and sells gourmet mushrooms. The tie for second place was shared by two Beverly-based companies: Advastim LLC, developer of a device to improve spinal cord and other neurostimulation treatments, and Imagination Brands, originator and manufacturer of Doodle Roll, an all-in-one paper and crayon activity.

For regional business leaders, the competition highlights new or growing businesses that can contribute to the local economy.

“Small businesses play a huge role in our regional economy. It’s critical that we identify and support them,” said Enterprise Center CEO Christine Sullivan.

The grand finale on May 6 will award cash prizes of $5,000 to the winner, $3,000 and $2,000 to the second and third place winners, respectively.

The awards are welcome, but the primary motivating factor, according to prior participants is the value of a disciplined approach to creating a business plan and the exposure to and advice of the judges, many of whom are local business leaders and potential investors.

For those considering entering, there will be an information session at the Enterprise Center on January 24, from 8:30 to 10:30 AM.

The Enterprise Center has announced the following 2013 sponsors as of January 7, 2013: gold sponsors are East Boston Savings Bank and People’s United Bank; silver sponsors are the North Shore Technology Council, Speaking of Leadership and West Hill Technology Counsel. The competition’s media sponsor is The Salem News.

There is still time to become a sponsor. Interested parties should contact Christine Sullivan at 978-542-7039, or csullivan@enterprisectr.org.)

Co-sponsors of the competition include 128 Innovation Capital Group; Bertolon School of Business at Salem State University, Beverly Chamber of Commerce, Cape Ann Business Incubator, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce, Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, Merrimack Valley Small Business Center, North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, North Shore Chamber of Commerce, North Shore InnoVentures, North Shore Women in Business, Peabody Chamber of Commerce, Salem Chamber of Commerce, Salem State University Alumni Association, Small Business Development Center at Salem State University

Complete rules, application and other information about the 2013 North of Boston Business Plan Competition, are available at enterprisectr.org/bpc or (978) 542-7528.

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University arms business owners with the knowledge and skills to start their business, grow, and succeed. The Enterprise Center is located at 121 Loring Avenue, Salem, MA 01970. Phone 978-542-7528, enterprisectr.org.

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