Thursday, December 8, 2016


Contact:          Washington County Chamber of Commerce
                        1 Government Center Place, Suite D
                        Abingdon, VA  24210
(276) 628-8141

A competitive challenge with more than 23,000 in awards & prizes

ABINGDON, VA:  November 14 - 18 is Global Entrepreneurship Week. In Honor of Entrepreneurship the Business Plan Challenge team will host an Entrepreneur Express Workshop on November 17 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator. This event will also be the kickoff of the 4th Annual Business Plan Challenge announcement. Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators launching start-ups to bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human value. The workshop will kick start the 2017 Challenge by providing an overview to prospective contestants with the steps to launching, marketing, financing and managing a successful business. To register for the free event go to or call the Chamber office at (276) 628-8141 or Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator at (276)492-2062.

 The Business Plan Challenge is an ambitious business plan competition designed to attract entrepreneurs with new technology, value added agriculture, outdoor recreation, light manufacturing and retail/support service businesses to locate their start up or expand their existing business within the towns of Abingdon, Glade Spring, Damascus and within the boundaries of Washington County, VA. One winning start up business and one existing business will win $5,000 each. There is also a 2nd and 3rd place prize for each category. The Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator, Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, The Washington County Chamber of Commerce, and People Incorporated, have partnered with Washington County VA, The Washington County IDA and the Town of Abingdon, to host the fourth annual Washington County Business Plan Challenge. The winners will receive $15,000 in cash awards toward implementing their winning business strategy. The winning start – up business will also receive $8,000 in free services from Mike Spiegler, Spiegler- Blevins, CPA’s and Wess Boggs, Penn Stuart. New this year is a $1,000 award from the Walmart Community Foundation to the business who earns the highest score for their Pitch Night performance.  To be considered for the awards, participants must attend all business training classes to be held weekly over a six week period and complete a business plan that will be presented before a panel of 4 judges. The business plans will be reviewed and scored by 3 anonymous judges, who are experts in their fields, and who do not know or recognize the names of the contestants.

All contestants are provided a list of mentors from a variety of business and educational sectors of the community and Virginia. These mentors are available throughout the year to assist in continued business planning for the contestants. Applications are due January 11, 2017 and classes will begin on January 24, 2017. The free entrepreneurship classes will continue on a weekly basis thru February 28, 2017. They begin at 6:00 p.m. and are held at Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator. The public is also invited to participate as an observer. The Challenge team offers free business classes throughout the year on a variety of topics through a program titled the Noon Knowledge. These classes are held from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. at Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator and are presented on Livestream and Facebook Live during the class and then uploaded and archived on Businesses of all types gain valuable insight from both programs that are especially designed to help the entrepreneur develop leads for selling products and services locally, gain business exposure, build relationships and network with other entrepreneurs. All of the programs presented in the Business Plan Challenge and the Noon Knowledge series can be viewed live on Livestream and through Facebook Live on Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator page or they can be viewed on Youtube, Noon Knowledge.  

To apply for the Washington County Business Plan Challenge, please contact the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, or visit Applications for the Challenge will be accepted through 5:00 pm on January 17, 2016. Space is limited and will be on a first come first serve basis.  Information and updates can also be found and shared on the Facebook page Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator, the website, Facebook page Washington County Business Challenge, and

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