Fostering Small Business Success Through Competition

About the Contest

The Annual Amazing Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition is an initiative by Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development and The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to foster new business development in Gwinnett County. The Established Business Category is open to individuals 18 years of age or older who currently own or manage a small business in Gwinnett County that is 36 months old or less as of April 1, 2016. The Pre-Venture category is open to contestants who live in Gwinnett County and have an idea for a business but are not yet open for business.

Contestants enter their business plan summaries for an opportunity to win big prizes to support their startup. Applicants will be judged based on the quality of the business plan summary and the business’s market viability.

But, beyond the prizes, contestants benefit greatly from the knowledge gained and contacts made through participation in the contest. Even contestants who don’t place as Finalists often find new customers just by taking advantage of the process. If you’re eligible, you should enter!

2016 Contest Timeline:

  • April 1, 2016: Contest opens for entry submissions
  • April 19 and April 27: SCORE conducts workshops to assist in preparing submissions
  • July 8, 2016: Contest deadline at 5:00 pm
  • After deadline: the Small Business Development Center evaluates entries and picks the Pre-Venture and Established Business Finalists
  • August 23, 2016: Contestant Reception (By invitation only); Finalists will be announced and reception attendees will select a Pre-venture company that is the “Most Likely To Succeed”
  • August 30 and 31, 2016: Workshops held for finalists on how to prepare oral presentations
  • September 2016: Finalists’ oral presentations to the Selection Committee (dates to be determined)
  • October 18, 2016: Finalists invited to the Pinnacle Awards at the Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Summit where both category winners are announced.

For contest rules and details, visit our Contest Rules page.

Contestant Reception – By Invitation Only
This evening event will feature announcement of the Finalists in both categories, as well as an opportunity for all attendees to select a Pre-venture company that is the “Most Likely To Succeed.” Top–scoring Established Business contestants will be invited to set up a display of their products or services. More details will be sent to invitees as the event approaches.


HEAR FROM PREVIOUS WINNERS

Matt ChoiMatt Choi
Founder and CEO, Sky High Tutoring
2015 Grand Prize Winner

“I was greatly honored to receive this special recognition as a member of the local business community. More than anything, this contest was a gateway for me to a new world of tools that Partnership Gwinnett was willing to offer to me and other businesses like mine. In addition to providing me with much needed recognition for my hard work, the contest has been an enormous educational opportunity for me and my business, helping me to visualize a new future. Thank you for facilitating Sky High Tutoring’s transformation into the service it is today.”


Denise ZannuDenise Zannu
Owner, Black Mermaid’s Handcrafted Soaps & Products
2014 Grand Prize Winner

“Being a part of the Amazing Entrepreneur contest has been just that – AMAZING. It has confirmed our proof of concept within the business community and provided us access to resources we may not have reached as easily. It has propelled us forward on a path to success while equipping us with a strong foundation. The support from the business community and the program sponsors has been priceless. We are grateful for the experience and look forward to more great opportunities.”


Susan BaconSusan Bacon
President, Palmetto Grant Consulting
2013 Grand Prize Winner

“Being recognized as the 2013 Amazing Entrepreneur was akin to being stamped with the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. We felt as though we had truly “arrived” in the business community. It was such a great honor for us and our team’s hard work over the past three years in launching the company. With such strong support from the Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development, we feel encouraged as we continue to grow upward and expand our efforts in helping our clients to secure the future and to change the lives of those they serve.”


Aaron AycockAaron Aycock
Founder, CubeVibe
2012 Grand Prize Winner

“Participating in the Amazing Entrepreneur contest was a great experience for us. As an early-stage startup, the prize package was a huge help. But the benefits go much further. The connections, networking events, and speaking opportunities that the program provided helped spread the word about our company. It was just the type of support we needed.”


Benny StaRomanaBenny StaRomana
Owner, Santa Romana & Associates
2011 Grand Prize Winner

“Winning the grand prize probably accelerated recognition of my company by at least one year. A web search of my business will show the Amazing Entrepreneur award and the contest sponsors; very compelling credibility-builders in my opinion. The well thought-out contest prizes were also unequivocal accelerators. Five months after the competition, I’m at full capacity, realizing uptrend revenue, and ready to move into the second phase of the business plan. Did the Amazing Entrepreneur contribute to my company’s early success? The clear answer is yes!’”