Entries are being accepted for the second-annual Catapult Business Plan Competition, with cash prizes for local and regional winners totaling $30,000.

Sponsored by the I-69 Thumb Region, a seven-county economic development partnership, the competition was created last year to “catapult” entrepreneurs and small-business owners to the next stage in growing their businesses. The prize money is designed to help winning contestants retain and grow Michigan businesses by providing capital to launch, expand production or hire staff.

The competition targets existing small businesses or startup businesses in the following industries:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Craft agriculture and beverage
  • Logistics
  • Professional services
  • Technology

The I-69 Thumb Region includes Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair and Tuscola counties. Each of the seven participating economic development organizations will hold a county-level competition, with a $2,000 prize for first place and $1,000 for second place.

The first-place winners for each county will move on to a regional contest of September 21, with a chance to win the top prize of $5,000. Cash prizes of $3,000 and $1,000, respectively, will be awarded for second and third place in the regional finals.

The competition uses an online process for applications and submittal of company information.  Interested companies or individuals are required to create a profile and answer a few questions about their business or business idea on the Startup Compete website using the following link:  https://i69catapultbusinescomp2017.startupcompete.co.

Once this process is completed, competitors have until July 20 to upload their maximum three-page executive summary and upload pitch presentations of not more than 10 slides. Competition judges will be using Startup Compete to review submissions and narrow the submissions down to no more than eight for the pitch event(s) to be held in August and September.

In Genesee County, the Small Business Development Center and Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce will be providing support to applicants that need technical assistance with registration, help writing the required executive summary or presentation coaching.

For more information about how to apply, please visit: http://i-69thumbregion.org/. You may also contact Tracy Joseph at the Flint & Genesee Chamber at (810) 600-1406 or tjoseph@flintandgenesee.org.