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Judges Selected For ‘Next Great Idea’ Business Plan Competition

The panel of judges has been secured for The Next Great Idea 2014 Oswego County Business Plan Competition, according to Austin Wheelock, economic development specialist for Operation Oswego County and Co-Chair of NGI.

“The Next Great Idea is the result of business and community leaders joining together to launch a competition that encourages entrepreneurs to commit to new business development in Oswego County and offers a $25,000 prize to help make a dream come true,” Wheelock said.ngi_logo_final_rgb

Judges for the event are Jeff Grimshaw of the SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations; Adam Gagas of Breakwall Asset Management; Kimberly Steele of the Steele Law Firm; Shane Broadwell of the Broadwell Hospitality Group; John Sharkey IV of Universal Metal; Sue Witmer of Cayuga Community College Fulton Campus; Mike Quenville of Pathfinder Bank; John Fitzgibbons, owner of the Fitzgibbons Agency; Atom Avery, local entrepreneur and owner of Avery Rental Properties & The Beacon Hotel; and Laurie O’Brien, owner of Port City Café & Red Sun Fire Roasting Company.

Judges were selected based on their local business knowledge and expertise in the fields of operations, management, financing, and entrepreneurship.

The first phase of the 2014 NGI Competition is currently under way and the deadline for submitting business concept proposals is April 11, 2014.

The entire competition will consist of three phases that will require semi-finalists selected from the first phase to develop full business plans and, in the third phase, finalists will make their “pitch” in person to the panel of judges.

This panel will determine which proposals will be selected to enter the subsequent phases culminating in the winner being chosen and honored at a luncheon on

November 13 of 2014. Ideas that are not selected will receive written feedback from the judges of how to improve their proposals for the future.

“We’ve designed the NGI program in a way to benefit all the participants involved, not just the ultimate winner of the competition,” Wheelock said. “If we have one $25,000 prize winner come out of this, but several bankable, feasible business plans with confident entrepreneurs then everyone wins, especially Oswego County.”

The event web site, www.oswegocounty.org/NGI, includes an overview of the event, a competition timeline, guidelines, details on the $25,000 prize, sponsors, partners and contact information.  In addition, the $25,000 can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to $250,000 in partnership with local banks, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the cities of Oswego and Fulton community development offices, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“The NGI partnership believes that Oswego County offers a wealth of resources and opportunities for businesses to start and flourish here. We are all extremely excited to see what great ideas the competition participants generate,” Wheelock said.

Financial and in-kind contributions that support this program come from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation of Oswego, Operation Oswego County, the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Oswego, Key Bank, Pathfinder Bank, Chirello Advertising, and Mitchell’s Speedway Press.

For more information, visit the web site at   www.oswegocounty.org/NGI or by email at [email protected]