The Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce and Fostoria Economic Development Corporation is excited to announce the finalists in the LAUNCH Fostoria Business Competition. The LAUNCH Fostoria Business Competition is a three-part, local small business competition which began in May by accepting applications from aspiring entrepreneurs. From the applications a panel of judges selected the top 8 to move on to the semifinals where the competitors pitched their ventures and four were tapped to move on to the finals. The final four are Jody and Victoria Beckford, OTR Smokehouse, Kristin VanCuren Koester, Calico Charlie’s, Brent Hoerig, Perfectly Repurposed and Janet Puckett, Created by J Spaces & Events.
Each business will present their business venture to the public on Friday, August 5 at 6:30 p.m. from The UrbanWoody Stage in Market Square Park on the corner of Main and Tiffin Streets. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, listen to the competitors pitch their ventures and cast their vote for the business they would like to see win the competition. Each vote costs $5 and the competitors will receive all money from the voting in addition to the prize package valued at over $17,000.
The prize package includes a one year lease in Downtown Fostoria (or equivalent dollar amount in appropriate space), print advertising courtesy of The Review Times, discounted radio advertising courtesy of WKXA, WFIN and 106.3 The Fox, $1,000 courtesy of the Shuff Family Small Business-Entrepreneur Grant, $5,000 in branding and marketing services courtesy of JYoakam Communications, $900 in trainings and courses at the Fostoria Learning Center courtesy of Northwest State Community College and the Fostoria Learning Center, one hour of legal advising valued at $250, three hours of accounting assistance valued at $875, CO.STARTERS course valued at $250 and a one year Chamber Membership valued at $200.
WKXA will be on hand beginning at 6 p.m. with a live broadcast during the event and will MC the competition. Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese Truck will be at The Urban WoodyBrewery and The HoneyBee Winery Immediately following the competition live music from Jake Heil Music will take the stage courtesy of The Urban Woody Brewery.
“We created LAUNCH Fostoria as a great way to jumpstart ideas, connections and small businesses while inviting the community to invest in an entrepreneur by participating in the finals and casting a vote, said Sarah Stephens Krupp, Chamber/Small Business Director. “Last year’s event was a huge success and 3 of the 4 finalists have operating businesses in our community. This is a unique opportunity for Fostoria, and we are so grateful to everyone who has assisted us in making the last year and this year’s competition a reality.”
The Launch Fostoria Business Competition is part of the Fostoria Chamber and FEDC’s efforts to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Fostoria. Both organizations, for the last several years, have been working together to implement programs and resources to assist entrepreneurs, experienced and in-experienced, in starting and growing their ventures. The organizations have hosted various entrepreneur events and trainings such as Get Started Workshops, starter, and maker events such as the Holiday Sip & Shop, CO.STARTERS courses, Advising Hours, Wayfinding programs and worked with the City of Fostoria to implement a Small Business Revolving Loan Fund.
“Our work to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is really a grassroots effort to combat the shrinking physical footprint of national chain retailers and fill the gaps in retail and small business in Fostoria with homegrown, locally owned businesses” said Renee Smith, President of FEDC. “It has been encouraging to see the uptick in entrepreneurs in Fostoria as well as the participation in the competition.”