Business Plan Competition kicks off with workshops to help entrepreneurs win cash prizes |

Business Plan Competition kicks off with workshops to help entrepreneurs win cash prizes

Bob Pole, right, and his son, RJ Pole, founded HearOclub with Ben Norman, not pictured. The hearing aid battery subscription service was named the winner of last year’s Community Business Plan Competition.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As manager of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center, Randy Rudasics understands most successful businesses start with a good business plan.

The center at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs is hosting the annual Community Business Plan Competition for the eighth year.

“This is a plan competition,” Rudasics said. “It’s not ‘who the best business is going to be’ competition. It’s for a plan, and sometimes you see small, niche businesses that can write a better plan than something that has scalability to become much bigger.”

The competition promotes effective planning for business startups. Rudasics said an entrepreneur with a well-written plan has a better chance to find funding, recruit talented employees, address the needs of customers and solve operational challenges.

As part of the competition, organizers are offering free business plan writing workshops at 6 p.m. April 18, May 15 and June 19 in Room 213 at CMC’s Academic Center. The workshops will cover topics like identifying a target market, defining a product or service as a customer value and creating financial forecasts as well as operations, marketing and sales strategies. To register for one or more of the workshops, interested entrepreneurs can call 970-870-4491.

The deadline to enter the competition is Sept. 30, but Rudasics said the time to start working on those business plans is now. Finalists will present their business concept to a panel of business mentors from Yampa Valley Score in October. Those plans can be submitted to Rudasics at Information about guidelines can be found at or by calling 970-870-4491.

Past winners include merino wool sleepwear brand Chill Angel, bamboo ski pole company GrassSticks, equine training device Balance Rider and Mountain Pine Manufacturing.

HearOclub, a subscription-based company that delivers hearing aid batteries, won last year’s competition. Innovative Regeneration, a business that turns food waste into fertilizer and energy, was second.

If you go

What: Business plan writing workshops
When: 6 p.m. April 18, May 15 and June 19
Where: Room 213 at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs’ Academic Center.
Register: 970-870-4491

“There have been a few strikeouts, but we have had a pretty good batting average since we started,” Rudasics said. “We have helped some companies that have decent potential move forward.”

Rudasics said the incentive to complete a plan by a set deadline has encouraged entrepreneurs to submit plans and further their business goals regardless of whether they won the competition.

But if that’s not enough motivation to put together a plan, this year’s winner will pocket $7,000 and an in-kind digital marketing package worth up to $2,000. The second-place finisher gets $5,000 in cash.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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