Sara Routhier, Managing Editor of Features and Outreach, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming worl...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 17, 2013

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The city of Winston-Salem’s Community and Business Development Department has launched a Business Plan Competition to promote economic growth in the area. In order to incentivize local entrepreneurs and would-be enterprise owners, the city is offering a $5,000 grant for startup costs to the winning business plan author. A matching $5,000 micro-loan may also be made available to the winner. The city is also offering the chance for the winner to apply to their Small Business Loan Program.

In order to bolster attendance and participation numbers, the city is inviting the participants of the Section 3/MWBE Business Training Program which ran in 2012 from October to December. While participants from the Business Training Program have been trained in market analysis, accounting, insurance, legal matters and commercial planning, the Business Plan Competition is open to all comers.

Ruben Gonzales, Business Development Administrator for Winston-Salem, assured loans.org that the Business Training Program participants will not receive priority.

“This is for startup entrepreneurs. We hope 25 or 30 will participate,” said Gonzales.

In order to be eligible for the competition a participant must be operating a micro-business, which is defined as an enterprise with 5 employees or less. Additionally the office or facility must be located within the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area. The city hopes that new commerce in this area will lead to increased development and investment. The end goal of the competition will be that submitted plans lead to low to moderate-income job growth in the community.

The city’s website outlines the timeline for the competition.

On Tuesday, Jan. 15 the city held an informational meeting for interested parties and prospective participants.

The city has set the due date for executive summaries and plan descriptions for Feb. 15. Following that, Judges will review submitted materials and select a number of finalists.

These finalists will be required to submit final drafts of their plans by May 15. A winner will be selected from the finalists in early July.

Anyone interested in the competition should call Ruben Gonzales, the city’s Business Development Administrator, at (336) 747-7474 or [email protected].