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The Entrepreneur Challenge is a competitive process that will award more than $30,000 in business investment grants for new entrepreneurial ventures and existing businesses looking to expand with additional job creation in far Southwest Virginia.
This seven month business training, networking, and mentorship opportunity will result in pitch nights in communities throughout far Southwest Virginia in which you may find the perfect location for your business—and a community that wants you to succeed. Additional information can be found at http://www.myswvaopportunity.org/?q=entrepreneur_challenge
Once applications are received, a cohort of approximately 20-25 Challengers will be selected to participate in the training program.
Applications must be submitted or postmarked no later than 11:59 p.m. on June 17, 2013.
The Benefits of participation
Challengers will have the opportunity to compete for the top award of $10,000 as well as earn $500 for just completing the program. Additionally, each participant will develop a deeper understand of planning for a successful business, be partnered with a mentor and have networking opportunities with other regional entrepreneurs.
The following will be awarded from Virginia Community Capital to top performers of the program once they establish an eligible business for qualified business expenses.
• $10,000 (one award).
• $5,000 (two awards).
• $1,500 (three awards).
• $500 (for participants completing the program).
Eligible Business Categories
• Arts and Culture
• Outdoor Recreation
• Value Added Agriculture/Agritourism
• Restaurants and Hospitality
• Technology/Advanced Manufacturing
• Support services for the above
Eligible Challengers who do not receive the top awards, and based on program qualifications, may also be able to participate in the Virginia Individual Development Account (VIDA) program, which offers a 2 to 1 match for any funding, up to $4,000 they save towards starting their own business.
Other Program Requirements
While this is a free program and the payoff can be big, but there are some conditions:
1. Selection in the cohort is a competitive process. Applications are due June 17, 2013. To be eligible, you must have a business or business idea that you want to pursue in one of the six categories. (See Eligible Business Categories.)
2. To win one of the competitive awards, you will have to locate your business within the region of eligible communities (See The Region.)
3. If you are selected as part of this inaugural cohort, you will have to commit to participating in all training and networking sessions between July and December 2013. In order to receive the $500 award, participants should not miss more than 2 sessions (1 classroom and 1 networking event). Should a vacancy be created, another participant may be selected to fill that position.
4. Units of governments are not eligible to participate.