BC in the News: Start-Up Competition

Competition’s goal is to be catalyst for new Brown County businesses


MOUNT STERLING — A Brown County group hopes a little friendly competition will nudge new businesses into the county.

The non-profit organization Action Brown County has concentrated for some time on supporting existing businesses. While that mission will continue, a grant through the Tracy Family Foundation will help it launch a business start-up competition.

It’s a way for those who have thought about starting a business to bring the idea to fruition.

“The business start-up competition will help aspiring Brown County business owners make the leap from idea to business success,” Action Brown County Executive Director Alex Geisler said.

Here’s how it will work: There will be a series of  workshops about what it takes to start a business. Those who take part then will have a chance to develop a business plan and pitch the idea to a panel. The judges will give someone up to $20,000 in cash and ongoing support such as accounting, marketing and customer service.

Applicants will be judged on such criteria as sustainability, employment generation and sales potential.

Geisler said the group is proud of the efforts that have been made to help businesses through programs, events and marketing support. Now it wants “to catalyze new retail business in Brown County.”

Planning team member Rob Akright said would-be entrepreneurs don’t have to have everything figured out just yet.

“Competitors will participate in several workshops led by experts to help them develop their idea into a viable business plan with the highest likelihood of success,” he said.

Applications are available at actionbrowncounty.org and will be accepted through April 1. Although those who apply don’t have to live in Brown County, they must agree to physically locate a business in the county if chosen.

Mount Sterling City Manager Vada Yingling hopes the competition sparks ideas.

“We’re hoping that we get a lot of applicants that have a broad range of exciting business ideas. We want to encourage anyone that has dreamed of opening a Brown County business to step forward and share their idea,” said Yingling, who is part of the competition planning team.