STOCKTON – Quarterfinalists in the 2013 San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge will vie for $24,000 in cash and business services in the first round of the “American Idol”-style competition.
The 18 quarterfinalists – taken from 50 applicants from throughout the Central Valley – are proposing a broad range of business ideas, including electronic devices, sports products, social networking, alternative energy applications, media products and services, health care products, food products, and various other consumer goods.
“These aspiring entrepreneurs have now taken the first steps to starting their own business in our region, and we hope the competition will encourage them to continue to pursue their vision,” Mark Plovnick, San Joaquin Angel president and University of the Pacific director of economic development, said in a statement about the competition. “Many of the 200 past participants in the challenge have started and/or grown their businesses. One particularly successful 2010 participant recently sold his software business to computer maker Dell.”
Contestants for the $10,000 in cash and $14,000 in business services will have two minutes each to present their business ideas – in what is known as an “elevator pitch” – to a panel of judges and a voting audience in the first round of this business plan competition. Eight winners will be selected from these 18 quarter finalists to proceed to the second and possibly third rounds of competition to be held on March 20.
“The funding and professional assistance that we received from the Challenge has helped us to put our product in the marketplace spotlight,” said 2012 winner John Paoluccio of Inventive Resources. “We now have sales in Florida, Las Vegas, Canada and even Dubai”.
The first round of the 2013 competition will be 5 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Stockton Golf and Country Club, 3800 West Country Club Blvd., Stockton. Members of the public are invited to attend for a cover charge for each event of $15 prepaid or $20 at the door. Food and beverages will be served.
The San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge is part of a regional economic development strategy and is being implemented through a partnership of the San Joaquin Angels, University of the Pacific, San Joaquin Partnership, Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance, Merced County Department of Commerce, Aviation and Economic Development, the Business Council Inc., NEC Small Business Development Center-San Joaquin Delta College, and the Alliance Small Business Development Center.
Sponsors of the event include Wells Fargo Foundation, Central Valley Fund, Bank of Agriculture and Commerce, Bank of Stockton, Central Valley Community Bank, Farmers and Merchants Bank, Pacific Gas and Electric, Rabobank, Trinity Venture Capital and The Record. Additional in-kind services are being offered by Croce and Company Accountancy Corp.; Downey Brand, attorneys; Never Boring Design, marketing and public relations; and External Resources Inc., business advisers.
For more information or to register to attend the events go to the San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge website.