Wanted: biz plans

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Did you know that Northeast Ohio ranks 44th in the nation for new business start-ups?

The region, however, contains more than 100 providers of assistance and resources for business owners. That’s the impetus behind VentureQuest 2002, the Council of Small Enterprise’s business plan challenge that runs through December 2001.

The competition, also sponsored by SBN Magazine, seeks to connect those with ideas with those who can make them happen. The winner will receive a $50,000 cash prize and a variety of business support and small business ”must haves.” The top five business plans will receive a $10,000 cash prize and some business support services.

Plans will be judged in the following categories by a panel identified for their business and start-up experience, as well as their connections to the business community:

Start-up business plan: Written for a new business venture not currently in existence.

Growth plan: A plan for a new product, market penetration or growth phase or focus for an existing business. Submissions must tie to a current business being operated by at least one of the plan authors.

Entrepreneur under 30: Written by an entrepreneur or entrepreneurs who are 30 years old or younger. This category is intended for students and recent graduates at any level, as well as those under the age of 30 who have a strong business idea.

Minority business plan: Written by a minority entrepreneur or certified MBE company. If there are multiple authors, the minority author must be at least a 51 percent owner of the resulting business and eligible for minority business certification.

Female business plan: Written by a female entrepreneur or certified FBE company. If there are multiple authors, a female must be at least a 51 percent owner of the resulting business and eligible for FBE certification.

The deadline for entries is Dec. 3, 2001. Winners will be announced at COSE’s annual meeting in 2002.

For more information on the program, contact COSE at (216) 523-2380.

VentureQuest 2002 website