Have you ever dreamed of launching a business? Many do. So why do many never get started? Maybe you don’t have time the time, or you don’t know where to start. Well, I’ve got good news for you! There’s plenty of help for aspiring entrepreneurs…
I’ve started-up twelve different businesses and acquired nine companies, so I’m well acquainted with the challenges that startups face. It helps to have someone in your corner, especially someone with experience who can help you when you are in the early stages.
Recently, I was asked to serve as a judge for a local small business plan competition called IdeaWF.
IdeaWF is a program for small business owners and would-be owners with an idea for a new business. It’s sponsored by Midwestern State University’s (MSU) Dillard College of Business Munir Lalani Center for Entrepreneurship in Wichita Falls, TX.
Every entrepreneur can improve their odds for success by entering a contest like IdeaWF because of three benefits:
The process is designed to help entrepreneurs build momentum. It starts with teaching attendees how to write an effective executive summary.
Also, the MSU Small Business Development Center (SBDC) walks the entrepreneur through the process of developing a full business plan.
People often need honest, unbiased feedback about how to turn their ideas into a real business. The MSU SBDC provides invaluable feedback to help IdeaWF entrants prepare their executive summaries.
Then the judges, who are five successful business leaders, review and comment on the summaries. Afterwards, the judges select the 15 semi-finalists and invite them to submit a full business plan.
Again, the MSU SBDC experts review and give feedback on the entrants’ business plans before they are submitted for the judges’ review.
Next, the judges select six finalists who are trained on “How to Pitch”. This training session is about turning that business plan into an effective 10-15 minute oral presentation to the judges.
The judges use the following criteria for their evaluation:
- Market need for products/service proposed
- Quality of management team
- Growth potential for equity investors and lenders including the number and types of jobs created in the region
The winners will be selected in two categories. The “Startup- GO” for startups or small businesses that made only $50,000 or less in the past two years.
The “Expansion- GROW” category is for businesses with over $50,000 but less than $250,000 in revenue in the past two years.
The judges select the top companies in each category to receive $27,500 in cash and professional assistance in the most critical areas: legal, accounting, marketing, human resources, and IT.
Also, there is a third company chosen as the “Judges’ Choice” winner. They receive $12,500 in cash and professional support.
Finally, all IdeaWF winners have the opportunity to present to the Texoma Angels investor group free of charge.
Starting a business is a blast! I love the anticipation and excitement that comes with new opportunities. But the work is hard and often stressful.
Fortunately, there are programs like IdeaWF and SBDC that stand ready to help you launch and grow your new business!
Do you have an idea? Would you like to start your own business? If you could start one today, what would it be?