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Local entrepreneurs have chance to turn idea into reality

POSTED July 5, 2011 8:35 p.m.

The Turlock Downtown Property Owner’s Association is planning an entrepreneurial competition that will award the winning business plan with free rent in a downtown space for one year. The competition, which TDPOA hopes to launch later this month, will also connect small businesses with no-cost services that will help them plan for success.

The competition will start with entrepreneurs submitting their great ideas for a business that will do well in downtown Turlock. TDPOA, along with the Turlock branch of the Alliance Small Business Development Center, will choose a panel of judges to evaluate the business ideas. Al Seaton, director of Alliance SBDC in Turlock, said that the panel will choose around 10 viable business ideas to compete. Chosen contestants will develop and present a detailed business plan.  

“I’m hoping that this competition will have the same kind of result that the Turlock incentive program has had,” Seaton said.

Seaton was referring to the Turlock Partnership Incentives Program, which offers $1,000 to qualified new businesses in Turlock who complete a business plan. This entrepreneurial competition, which is unrelated to the Turlock Partnership Incentives Program, also offers potential business owners an incentive for completing a business plan. The winner of the competition will receive one year of free rent in a downtown business space, another year of half-priced rent, and a third year of full market rate rent if they sign a three year lease.

“We’re going to solicit people with great ideas. Anyone who has a great idea for a business should let us know,” Seaton said.

Seaton said that he would like to see a variety of interesting ideas for the entrepreneur competition. He said that any number of business plans have the potential to do well in a downtown Turlock setting. He helps small businesses in Turlock who are referred to him by the Alliance SBDC Modesto, and he has helped everyone from beauty salons to a retailer who sells Huggable Jesus dolls.

“I’m just looking for them to have an idea,” Seaton said.

The competition will help entrepreneurs better understand everything that is involved in opening their new business. Alliance SBDC Turlock will also offer seminars on small business planning and development to contestants which will be open to the public.

TDPOA still has to work out a few details for the competition, but they should announce the starting date sometime this month. Seaton said that he would like to see the winning business open before Christmas. Potential business owners don’t need to wait until the official contest announcement to call Alliance Small Business Development Center. They offer no-cost services to Turlock small business owners including counseling, classes, and research.   

For more information about the contest or Alliance SBDC, call 567-4910.

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141.

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