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Live Free and Start: A Guide to New Hampshire’s $tartup Competitions

Spring is in the air and if you’re an entrepreneur, this means one thing — business plan competition season. Over the next two months, entrepreneurs and start-up companies have the opportunity to win over $230,000 in cash and in-kind services through four start up competitions: The Dartmouth Ventures Entrepreneurial Contest, the MYPN Start Up Challenge, the Startup Rochester Business Competition and the Holloway Prize Innovation-to-Market Competition.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your start-ups …

Dartmouth Ventures Entrepreneurial Contest

On Saturday (April 5), three start-up businesses will vie for $100,000 in cash and prizes at the Dartmouth Ventures Entrepreneurial Contest, open to anyone with a Dartmouth College affiliation. The contest is part of Dartmouth Ventures, an annual conference on entrepreneurship established in 2002.

All attendees of Dartmouth Ventures will have the opportunity to vote for a People’s Choice winner during the Entrepreneurial Contest.  The People’s Choice winner will take home $2,500 in cash and additional in-kind services.  For information on attending Dartmouth Ventures click here.

Holloway Prize Innovation-to-Market Competition

Similar to the Dartmouth Ventures competition, the Holloway Prize Innovation to Market Competition is hosted by the Paul School of Business at the University of New Hampshire, open to students within the University System of New Hampshire. The Holloway Prize is in its 26th year and has a history of applicants going on to create sustainable and profitable companies.

The most notable entry came from Joe Faro in 1991.  He founded Tuscan Brands, Tuscan Market and Joseph’s Pasta, which he sold for $60 million to Nestle. Faro credits part of his success to his participation in the Holloway Prize, which encouraged him to create a business plan that was realistic and sustainable.

The Holloway Prize is worth over $100,000 in cash and in-kind services and championship round begins at 1 pm, May 7 at the Paul College. For more information on the Holloway Competition and the Charles and Miriam Nelson Poster Competition, click here.

MYPN Start Up Challenge

The Manchester Young Professionals Network started the MYPN Start Up Challenge in 2006 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship in the young professional community.  The competition is open to New Hampshire start-ups and applications will be accepted until April 18. Over the past five years, $210,000 in cash and in-kind services have been awarded to New Hampshire startups. This year’s winner will receive more than $55,000 in cash and in-kind services.

One of the many start up success stories from the Start Up Challenge is Nearby Registry, which won in 2012. Allison Grappone’s 2009 wedding was the inspiration, when she and her husband channeled the frustration they had when they were unable to support their favorite local businesses through the traditional gift registry model. So like any entrepreneur, Grappone developed a website that enables people to create a registry for wedding, birthdays and other events using small businesses from all over the state. Since winning the Start Up Challenge, Nearby Registry has grown to three full-time staff and is expanding its business into Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Vermont.  The company has signed on more than 150 storefronts in New Hampshire and Seattle and has kept over $18,000 and counting in the local economy.

The MYPN Start Up Challenge semi-final event is May 15 and the winner will be announced June 17 at the NHIOP at Saint Anselm College. To learn more about the MYPN Start Up Challenge or submit an application, click here.

Startup Rochester Business Competition

Similar to the MYPN Start Up Challenge, the Start Up Rochester Business Competition is open to New Hampshire startups that have not raised more than $100,000 in funding.  Applications will be accepted until April 8.

This is the second year of the competition, which started as a partnership between the Rochester Community and Economic Development Division and the abi Innovation Hub.  Last year’s winner, Kinetic Surface Control, is a growing company in Newmarket that develops technology to strip paint and corrosion from metal, concrete, asphalt and other surfaces. This year’s applicants will compete for a $20,000 cash-and-in-kind prize package at the final event on May 8.  To learn more about the business competition or submit an application, click here.

New Hampshire is a great place to start and grow a business and these competitions are a perfect complement to the expanding New Hampshire start-up ecosystem, thanks to the incredible – and enthusiastic – efforts of our  incubators around the state and the hundreds of start-ups created each year.

Live Free and Start!

Chris_WellingtonChris Wellington

NH Division of Economic Development

Business Resource Specialist

The Seacoast and Cheshire and Sullivan Counties

 

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