Time for entrepreneurs to sign up for 2016 Metro East Start-Up Challenge
Regional entrepreneurs and startup owners can now prepare to pitch professional plans to an expert panel during Southern Illinois University (SIU) Edwardsville’s 2016 Metro East Start-Up Challenge (MESC), a three-round business-plan competition scheduled to conclude in November.
The 2016 Challenge is organized by the Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to empower regional business startups in information technology, manufacturing and health care. Cash and continuing support are among the prizes, with a first-place prize of $10,000 and two runners-up each receiving $5,000 apiece.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to begin the application process at siue.edu/metroeaststartup. The entry deadline is Friday, Sept. 9; semi-finalists will be announced Friday, Sept. 16, and finalists will be notified on Friday, Oct. 21. The Challenge will announce cash prize winners on Friday, Nov. 4.
“The Metro East Start-Up Challenge elevates the discussion of and support for entrepreneurship across our region,” Jo Ann Di Maggio May, interim director for SBDC, said. “The interest in the annual Challenge continues to grow with each passing year.”
The competition consists of three sequential rounds designed to narrow the field: a questionnaire and summary entry, followed by a full business plan submission and culminating with a “final pitch” to a panel of professionals. 2016 marks the third annual such competition for SIU Edwardsville.
Eligibility depends on a business entity’s start date, as well as geographic location. To qualify, the company must have been established after April 30, 2012, and be based in the Illinois portion of the St. Louis Metro region (Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph Counties).