The first annual UPWard Initiative Business Plan Competition has been designed to encourage entrepreneurs to explore new ideas and start new businesses in the Upper Peninsula. Additionally, existing businesses with new ideas are welcome to apply.
The competition is open to all residents in the Upper Peninsula, as well as Marinette and Florence Counties in Wisconsin. Competition winners will receive startup seed capital, as well as mentoring services and media exposure.
This region wide contest is an opportunity to compete for cash and in-kind prizes, but it’s also a chance to get constructive feedback on a business plan and to help move it from a virtual business to a reality.
The contest will run from through November 1, 2012. The winner’s award will be presented at the Operation Action UP Annual Meeting in January 2013. For more information and guidelines for submissions visit www.upwardinitiative.org or call Holly Peoples at 906-280-2441.
The plan is part of the UPWard Initiative which is a call for collaboration among private and public sector leaders, throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and two adjoining Wisconsin Counties. The initiative is a collaborative effort of the private and public leaders of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and adjoining Wisconsin counties to align and promote the region’s resources, expertise and creativity in order to sustain and grow the region’s economy.
The UPWard Initiative was the result of a Regional Innovation Grant award in 2009 to develop a region-wide economic opportunity study. Seven areas of priority were identified: Business Growth & Development, Higher Education, Natural Resources, Education & Workforce Training, Health Care, Tourism and Infrastructure.
Within the Business Growth & Development strategy, four tactics were identified to:
- support existing entrepreneurial development by maximizing the use of state and regional programs,
- establish an international business network,
- establish a network of business incubators and business parks and,
- to establish a region-wide business plan competition.
The Business Growth & Development Committee has completed an inventory of region-wide business incubators and industrial parks which is available for viewing at www.marquette.org/up-collaborative-development-council under Additional Resources. The group has also compiled a list of Exporting resources that are available throughout the region which can also be found at the above web site location under Exporting Assistance.
The Business Plan Competition is the next step in supporting the efforts of entrepreneurs and in carrying out the objectives of the Business Growth & Development section of the UPWard Initiative study.