Entrepreneurs get chance to shine in ‘Shark Tank’-style competition

Randy Rudasics, manager of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs, will once again administer the annual community business plan competition. Workshops will be held this summer. The deadline to enter the competition is Oct. 1. (Photo by Scott Franz)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Entrepreneurs in Steamboat Springs who think they have a solid plan for a future business will have an opportunity to test their ideas with a panel of experts and maybe win some cash to help make their plan a reality.

“It’s an incentive to write a plan,” said Randy Rudasics, who facilitates the Community Business Plan Competition, hosted by Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs. “We have seen some plans that are great, and some that were not so good.

“We are just trying to raise the small business IQ of these people who are enthused about starting a new business,” Rudasics explained. “If they think better, plan better and research the market better, they will have a better chance at success.”

The deadline for local entrepreneurs to enter the contest is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1. Participants are asked to submit a 10- to 12-page formatted business plan that includes spreadsheets that forecast the future and cover all basic areas with the goal of reducing risk for a new startup.

This is the seventh year the business plan competition has been held in Steamboat, and Rudasics, who is also the manager of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center, has facilitated the competition during that time. He also offered a series of business workshops through the center this summer.

He said plans submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by judges Greg Friedman, Roger Good and Kemp Bohlan. All of the men are part of SCORE, a group of experienced executives and business owners who offer counseling for pre-startup entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Each contest entry will be scored with the top six entries advancing to the next round. The top six competitors will make presentations to the judges, who will choose first- and second-place winners.

The top business plan will win $6,000, which is provided by the city of Steamboat Springs. The second-place plan earns $4,000 courtesy of Mountain Valley Bank and Alpine Bank.

“We try to be friendly with a small startup that’s going into the trades as well as the more ambitious startup that wants to rule the world,” Rudasics said.

Past winners include: Grass Sticks, a company that produces bamboo ski poles; Mountain Pine Manufacturing, which creates wood mulch; and Chill Angel, a clothing manufacturer that produces Merino wool garments designed to improve the quality of life for women whose sleep is interrupted by body temperature fluctuations.

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

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