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Ben Franklin biz plan contest dangles big prize for Central and Northern PA startups


One big idea will bring a revenue windfall–$100,000–for a lucky technology company that’s located somewhere among the 32 counties of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA (BFTP).

How to grab the golden ring of seed capital investment? Write a winning business plan that will capture the prize to be awarded early next year by the Ben Franklin Venture Investment Forum (BFVIF).

“New business start-ups require funds,” says Patrick Farrell, Presidentand CEO of Forward Vision, a previous contest winner. “But we also needguidance, and the Ben Franklin group has been extremely responsivein providing this support.”

Next year’s prize is four times greater than the reward offered to Farrell and earlier winners of the forum’s challenge. The jump in prize money for the Big Idea Business Plan Contest should cause most struggling startups to become bug-eyed with excitement. It’s rare for new enterprises to see 6-figure handouts dangled in front of them.

The award will be made on March 31, 2009, to a small company that builds its business in one of a number of sectors that include nanotechnology, green technologies, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, medical devices, information technology, software or some other domain of technology or manufacturing.

The contest is open to companies that operate–or plan to develop their business–in the 32 counties that form the service area of the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership of Central and Northern Pennsylvania. The complete list of applicable counties is listed with competition rules at the contest’s Web site.

In addition to location and a great idea for a business plan, qualified applicants are expected to have fewer than 50 employees and annual sales of less than $500,000 in 2007 as well as in year-to-date sales at the application deadline, which is December 17, 2008.

Semi-finalists will be chosen January 6, 2009. Business plans will be due February 16, 2009. Finalists will be chosen February 27, 2009, prior to the announcement of the winner on March 31, 2009.

Source: Ben Franklin Venture Investment Forum
Writer: Joseph Plummer

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