A new business pitch competition, LaunchVT, is “awarding cash prizes to young entrepreneurs who develop plans for a new business enterprise that demonstrates exceptional potential in today’s market,” according to its website.
The competition offers $20,000 in cash awards, $40,000 in in-kind support and mentor pairing.
LaunchVT is intended to develop connections between young professionals and Vermont’s entrepreneurial community, said Emily Piper of Burlington Young Professionals Group, a subset of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. Piper, along with Nick Grimley of insurance agency Hackett, Valine & MacDonald, cofounded LaunchVT.
“We wanted to show young professionals that we value them, want them to stay here and that there are opportunities to start businesses,” Piper wrote in an email to the Observer. “We know there are great ideas out there and we think LaunchVT will give them the educational, and other supports, they need to take it to the next level and promote economic growth in Vermont.”
To enter, companies must be in the early startup stages and headquartered in Vermont, though there are no concrete parameters.
Piper said LaunchVT has received 55 applications so far, including computer apps, engineering techniques and new products.
The deadline for applications is March 9. LaunchVT’s advisory board will choose the five best business ideas. The five will present their final pitches on May 31.
For more information, visit www.launchvt.com.
—Stephanie Choate, Observer staff