Local entrepreneurs collectively win $25,000 in startup & expansion funds

Published 2:36 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

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WASHINGTON, N.C.— Fifteen local entrepreneurs competed in a pitch contest to win their share of $25,000 in cash awards through the Seed & Sow Contest developed and hosted by Beaufort County Community College’s Small Business Center (SBC). Of the 15, ten walked away with $2500 in hand to put into their business. The final pitch on April 13 was part of the small business development program that began in September 2023. The Seed & Sow Contest was funded through donations from Airbnb, Duke Energy, National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, TriCounty Foundation, First Citizens Bank, NCIDEA, Belhaven-Pantego Rotary, and First Bank.

Businesses not only received cash, but they also received free training along the way. To qualify for the pitch contest, all contestants completed the SBC’s core workshops and met with the program’s director Jack Dugan to develop a professional startup or expansion plan. All SBC workshops are free, with some offered online.

Dugan said, “This process fosters learning, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and healthy competition in a positive and encouraging environment. Most importantly, winners left with the seed to plant, grow, and flourish in our local communities to the benefit of all.”

Ten winning small businesses were awarded $2,500 each. The winners included: Beverly Horvath of Aurora, N.C., with The Blue Crab Boutique, Kaitlyn Cooper of Pantego, N.C., with Craftsman Accounting, Debbie King of Belhaven with ICW Brewery, Jamari Spencer of Washington, N.C., with Spencer Property Maintenance, Betsy Waters of Belhaven with Balance in Motion Fitness, Shont’e Mason of Washington with Vivrant Things Boutique, Danielle Hubers & Molly Coltrain  of Belhaven with Bad Mom’s Coffee, Hailey Elson of Washington with Lighthouse Lactation, Michele Hardy of Washington with Hardy’s Tire Service, and Kevin Bunch of Washington with Prospective Living Corp.

This summer, the SBC will offer “Finding the Entrepreneur in You” starting July 8. SBC director Jack Dugan will facilitate this three-day Ice House Workshop, which is designed to inspire and engage participants in the fundamental aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset, its universal application, and the unlimited opportunities it can provide. Participants will leave with a plan to help guide them in their small business startup or expansion and compete in a pitch contest to win $1500 in seed funds. Lunch will be included. For details for this summer’s upcoming pitch contest, contact the Small Business Center at 252-940-6306. See all upcoming Small Business Center workshops and register at www.beaufortccc.edu/sbc.