Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence offers funds to jumpstart new businesses

Budding entrepreneurs in Lebanon County have a chance to split $8,000 in winnings to kickstart their dream business.

The Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence (a.k.a., The Center) is asking for submissions of interest in “THE GREAT Lebanon County PITCH” by Oct. 1.

A submission “does not mean that you have to participate,” organizers explained on their website. “It is your consideration to participate.”

The competition is open to entrepreneurs with an idea to create a new business in Lebanon County, as well as existing businesses with an idea to expand or alter their business model.

A form indicating someone’s interest to participate must be emailed, mailed or hand delivered to The Center by Oct. 1. Documents can be mailed or hand delivered to 604 Cumberland St., Lebanon, PA 17042, or emailed to [email protected].

The competition will award $5,000 to its first-place winner, $2,000 to a runner-up and $1,000 to the “fan favorite.”

Winners will be publicized in local and regional media. There is no cost to apply or participate.

“Applicants must utilize the services of THE CENTER for Entrepreneurial Excellence while preparing or reviewing your Business Plan,” according to The Center’s website. “This may include attending workshops/seminars geared to help you create your Business Plan, marketing plan, and financial forecast. You can also connect with a FREE SCORE Mentor to review documents you may already have.”

The Center began offering free workshops and SCORE Mentoring programs to entrepreneurs in August and will continue offering them through November to help participants “develop and create their comprehensive business plan,” the release says.

A six-week virtual program, “Simple Steps to Starting Your Business,” began Sept. 8 and concludes Oct. 6. Participants in the virtual program were asked to pay $100, but they will be reimbursed if they complete the curriculum.

The deadline for a final application and business plan is 5 p.m. Nov. 1.

“Applicants will submit a final application and business plan for review and consideration to present at THE GREAT PITCH event,” the website notes. “If selected to present, applicants will have 5 minutes to present their business concept at THE GREAT PITCH event.”

The business plan must include the following details, according to the website: contact information, the name of the business, an overview and description of business concept, acknowledgment of investors or partners, a tentative or known business location, an approximate number of employees, financial projections, viability of the business via research (including location data and competition), a sales and marketing plan and a budget for how the grant money will be used. Participants also may include recommendations and letters of support for their proposal.

The Final Pitch Presentation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 17 at 989 Quentin Road, Lebanon.

“Six applicants will be selected to present their PITCH in front of a panel of judges including business and community leaders,” the press release states. “No additional money will be awarded or promised other than the $8,000 award money. No investors will be making offers on presentations.”

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