Chambers partner on entrepreneurial challenge

GASTONIA – The Gaston Regional and Montcross Area Chambers are partnering to host the second annual Launch Pad entrepreneurial challenge.
The business plan competition is designed to encourage, reward and support entrepreneurship and create jobs in Gaston County.
“The Gaston Regional Chamber is focused on job creation, and entrepreneurs and small business owners play a substantial role in our job vitality,” said Alison Cookson, interim president and CEO, Gaston Regional Chamber.
“We are excited to once again give entrepreneurs with a new idea or an existing small business owner, the foundation and support to fulfill a dream and help make an idea reality.”
Contestants will have the opportunity to compete for grants of $12,500 (first place), $7,500 (second place), $3,500 (third place) and a “best pitch” bonus of $1,000 based on an audience vote during a live, final round.
Applications will be accepted beginning Sept. 1 from small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to further develop an existing business or to start a new business in Gaston County.
Winners will be those whose business ideas judges consider income generating, viable, innovative and which ultimately can grow jobs in Gaston County.
“Launch Pad complements perfectly our chamber’s mission to create jobs in Gaston County by helping existing businesses grow and encouraging entrepreneurs to start dynamic new ventures, which will generate the jobs of tomorrow,” said Montcross Area Chamber President Ted Hall. “We’re excited to be working in unison with the Gaston Regional Chamber to spark creative thinking and vision among those who will be our future business leaders.”
Finalists will be those with business ideas that demonstrate the ability to anticipate and adapt over time to changing conditions, become income-generating, realistic, innovative, creative and ultimately profitable.
Participants will be judged on a point system based on the elements of a written business plan and an oral presentation of their concept. Judges will be comprised of distinguished entrepreneurs and business leaders.
The final competition will start at 6 p.m. Nov. 20 at Gaston College.

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