Hickory – The Edison Project is sponsored by the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and is a celebration and recognition of the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that we have in our area. We are looking for entrepreneurs who have an idea for an innovative viable business in the Hickory Metro area they would like to submit for consideration and review by a panel of judges. You will compete with other start-up entrepreneurs for an economic incentive of $18,000 in cash: ($10,000 1st place; $5,000 2nd place and $3,000 3rd place) plus other pro-bono benefits for the best new entrepreneurial business ideas in the Metro area for 2016.

The application process ends on Friday, July 22nd at 5:00 p.m. Go to https://edisonproject2016.startupcompete.co/ and fill out the application and Executive Summary on line. You can also learn more about the competition by reviewing a Q&A document on our web site at www.catawbachamber.org. Complete the application/summary on line and submit your registration fee of $100 separately to the Chamber at 1055 Southgate Corp. Park SW, Hickory, NC 28602. The application can be no longer than 1,000 words (12 font) and must address all of the elements of the Executive Summary outline, which can be found on the Chamber’s website also.

This competition is for potential new start-up companies and for those current businesses that have cumulative revenues of less than $350,000, excluding grants. You can reapply if you were not one of the top 3 winners from the previous years. This competition is not applicable for non-profit organizations. The business must be located within the Hickory Metro area of Catawba, Burke, Caldwell or Alexander counties.

A judging panel will review all applications and announce the finalists on Monday, August 15th. The finalists will have until Monday, October 24th to prepare and submit a formal business plan based on their executive summary and a suggested business plan outline. The business plan outline will be given to all finalists to help them in developing their formal presentation to the judges.

Each of the finalists will be making a 15 minute presentation, with 10 minutes for Q&A, to a judging panel on Friday, October 14th at the Chamber. The final stage of the competition will take place on Monday, November 21st where each finalist will be given 5 minutes to present a more condensed version of their business plan/idea at a special reception/awards ceremony, open to the public.

You will be judged on a point system based on the elements of your written and oral Business Plan presentation. Your Business Plan presentation (Pitch) will account for 50% of your totals points, and written Business Plan will amount to 40% of your total points. Your final 5 minute presentation on November 21st will be judged by the audience and will amount to 10% of your remaining total points. The judges will combine all three scores that evening and award the Top Three winners during the Awards Ceremony.

Questions, please e-mail dhearn@catawbachamber.org or call 828 431-7230.