Written by Ryan Lilly, Director of Business Creation, Ocala-Marion County CEP
Teams proposing an entertainment center, food truck, clothing service, restaurant, and healthcare technology company have been selected as the five finalists in the 1st Annual Marion County Youth Business Plan Competition. The contest, a business creation initiative of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership and the Power Plant Business Incubator, aims to get students thinking and talking about opportunities to start companies of their own.
Open to 9-12th grade public, private, and home-schooled students in Marion County, the competition received a total of 11 team applications from 29 students. Following the October 31 application deadline, a panel of judges met on November 4, carefully reviewed each entry, and selected 5 of the 11 teams as finalists. Those five teams will now be asked to present in a style similar to that of the television show Shark Tank on Wednesday, November 19 at 5:30 PM at the Power Plant Business Incubator located at 405 SE Osceola Ave. The public and media are invited to attend. No RSVP is necessary, although seating will be limited on a first-come first-serve basis.
The team selected for first prize will receive $1,000, one year Affiliate Membership at the Power Plant Business Incubator, one year Entrepreneur Level Partnership with the CEP, their team’s story on the cover of two local magazines, and a trophy. Second and third prizes will receive $500 and $250 respectively, in addition to trophies.
- Connie Pendleton –Ocala Business Brokers
- Angie Lewis –Angie Lewis State Farm
- Rondo Fernandez – Owner ofMojo Grill & Catering Co.
- Navroz Saju – President/CEO of theHotel Development Group
- Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn –City of Ocala
““My wife Stacey and I saw this as an opportunity to give-back to the community and encourage young people to pursue entrepreneurship,” said Jason Ansley, the event sponsor. “We were incredibly impressed at the overall quality and detail of the business plans these finalists put together. It will be so exciting to see them present their ideas in-person on November 19 as part of CEP’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week.”
Tell us your thoughts about the competition and/or the finalists in the comments below!