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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Start-Up Challenge to help start local businesses

  • Two lucky entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to turn their business dream into reality thanks to the Helena-Start Up Challenge that was launched Monday according to a press release.The Helena-Start Up Challenge is a business plan competition says Kimberly Clement, community development officer for Southern Bancorp Com...
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  • Two lucky entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to turn their business dream into reality thanks to the Helena-Start Up Challenge that was launched Monday according to a press release. The Helena-Start Up Challenge is a business plan competition says Kimberly Clement, community development officer for Southern Bancorp Community Partners in Helena. The first place winner will receive $25,000 and the second place finisher will get $15,000. However, there is one slight catch. Both winners must agree to use the prize money to use their winning ideas into a start-up business in Helena-West Helena. The Helena-Start Up Challenge is part of the Delta Bridge Project and applications for the competition will be accepted through March 31 at Helena Startup Challenge.com. Applicants do not have to be residents of Helena-West Helena but the winning entrepreneurs must agree to start businesses in Helena-West Helena. Applications should include much of the pertinent information that would be included in a business plan, which should help entrepreneurs improve their ideas. More information about the Challenge as well as applications are available online at HelenaStartupChallenge.com. “The Helena-Start-Up Challenge builds upon the idea that people with great business ideas will succeed in our community with some technical assistance and start-up funding,” said Bev Hargraves, owner and president of Hargraves Insurance Agency Inc. and judge for the Challenge in a prepared statement. “Small business creation is a vital part of reviving the local economy and a source of pride for residents of Phillips County.” The Challenge is divided into an open round and the finals. Local business leaders will serve as judges in the open round. The judges will study the applications received before the deadline and will select up to six finalists. Finalists will be asked to present a full business plan to compete for the prize money and the opportunity to start their own business. Entries will be considered on the best possibility of success and overall “fit” in the community. The judging standards can be found on the challenge webpage. A $1.9 million Rural Innovation fund grant of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is funding the Helena Start-Up Challenge. That grant also is funding several additional economic incentives in Helena-West Helena that will get underway in coming months. To learn more about the Helena-Start-Up Challenge or to apply, visit HelenaStartupChallenge.com. Please contact Dustin Choate with any questions about the competition at dustinchoate@southernpartners.org or (870) 816-1117. For more information about the Delta Bridge Project contact clement at kimberlyclement@southernpartners.org or call (870) 816-1121.

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