PROVIDENCE – As the March 31 deadline to apply to the 2014 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition approaches, the organizers announced Tuesday that they will award prizes valued at more than $200,000 – including up to $50,000 in cash to the top competitor – when the winners are named in May.
Fifty-nine sponsors are supporting this year’s competition, the most ever since the competition began. Two former competition participants – Haverhill Inc. and ShapeUp – are among the 2014 sponsors.
“What makes the competition possible is the enthusiastic, sustained support of our sponsors, all of whom recognize that a strong startup community is vital to a strong Rhode Island,” said Margaret “Peggy” Farrell, competition co-chair and partner in the law of firm of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP. “I thank them on behalf of those who will be competing this year.”
Founded in 2000 to help create “growth companies” that will bring jobs to the local community, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition encourages plans for new businesses, as well as from early-stage companies. Judges will focus on originality, breadth of impact on the business community and likelihood of success in choosing finalists and winners.
While applicants do not have to be Rhode Island residents, to be selected as a semi-finalist, applicants must agree to establish or continue business operations in Rhode Island should they be named a finalist or winner.
Last year, jewelry designer Haverhill Inc., online 3-D printing marketplace Azavy, and tennis booking and payment app TennisHub shared more than $200,000 in prizes from the contest, and Haverhill Inc. took home the $45,000 winner’s cash prize.
To date, the Business Plan Competition has awarded more than $1.4 million in cash and services as prizes.
For more information about the Rhode Island Business Plan Compeition or to learn how to apply, visit www.ri-bizplan.com. Applications are due March 31.
Winners of the 2014 competition will be announced May 1 at The Garage, a half-day business expo hosted by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce at the R.I. Convention Center.
Major sponsors for the 2014 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition include: Davol Inc.; The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation; the University of Rhode Island; Cumulus Media-Providence AM 790; Edwards Wildman; Embolden; Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP; and Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co. Ltd.