Fostering Small Business Success Through Competition

FAQ

Why is Partnership Gwinnett conducting this Contest?
Great question! You’re smart for asking it. Two reasons. First, we believe in the importance of business planning. All of the issues we ask you to address in our entry forms are related to challenges you will face as a business owner. It helps to think them through and write them down. You’ll stand a better chance of succeeding if you have a battle plan. Second, entrepreneurs are busy people, which means they don’t often take the time to engage with support services that will help them. By entering this contest, you will come into contact with a host of resources that will make your life easier. Since we’re here to help you succeed, these seemed like two good reasons for us to bring you this contest.

Why should I enter the Contest?
Another great question! You’re on fire today! First, the contacts you’ll make alone will be more than worth the time you’ll put into it. Many of our contestants, even those who don’t place as Finalists, have gotten leads for paying customers. And, of course, if you do snag a Finalist spot, or become a category Winner, we have some great prizes. But, it’s the connections and the information that count. Long after the prizes have been utilized and the trophies are a little dusty, you’ll always have who you met and what you learned.

I’m new to this, and I’ve never done a business plan. Any suggestions?
Yes. First, we’ll have workshops in April to talk about both planning and entering the contest. Also, take a look at the business planning section of the Gwinnett Entrepreneur website (there’s a lot of other information on that site that will be helpful to you as well.)

What are the judges looking for when they evaluate the entries?
They are looking for thoroughness in planning your business. All sections of the business plan template need to be answered thoughtfully. They are not looking for who has the cleverest product or who will make the most money. They are looking to see who did their homework when thinking through the challenges the business will face.

Does my business have to be in Gwinnett to enter the Contest?
For the Established Business category, yes. If you’re entering the Pre-Venture category, you have to be a Gwinnett resident.

My business is in the formation process. How do I know whether I’m an Established Business or a Pre-Venture contestant?
Simple. If someone offered you money, and you can take it because you’re far enough along to provide your product or service, then you’re an Established Business. If you have to forego the sale because you’re not ready yet, then you’re Pre-Venture. (This is as of the deadline, July 8. If you can make a sale by that date, you’re an Established Business. If you can’t, you’re Pre-Venture.)

What do I have to submit to enter the Contest?
Whoa! Before you fill out any entry forms, please consult the rules. You want to make sure you’re eligible.

OK, now that you’ve read the rules, you are ready to Enter the Contest. Remember, the Contest opens on April 1!

How do I submit my entry? You may email your entry materials to mfarmer@gwinnettchamber.org; or mail to: Amazing Entrepreneur Contest, Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth GA 30097; or drop the materials off at the front desk of the Gwinnett Chamber: 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097.

You will receive email notification of receipt of your entry.  If you do not receive notification within a week of your submission, please contact Mark Farmer, 678-584-2268, mfarmer@gwinnettchamber.org.

Is there a fee to enter?
Oh no. We’re trying to help you. Not make money from you.

When does the contest open?
April 1, 2016. Entries will be accepted beginning that date.

When is the deadline?
5 pm on July 8, 2016

How will I found out whether I’m a Finalist or Winner?
See the timeline below for details.

What is the timeline for the contest?
April 1, 2016: Contest opens for entry submissions
April 19 and 27: SCORE conducts workshops to assist in preparing submissions
July 8, 2016, 5pm: Contest deadline
After deadline: the Small Business Development Center evaluates entries and selects 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”
After Contestant Reception:
 Oral Presentation Workshops held for Finalists on how to prepare their presentations
 Finalists’ oral presentations to a Selection Committee
October 18, 2016: Finalists invited to the Pinnacle Awards at the Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Summit where both category winners are announced.
What’s the best way to participate in this contest?
Start drafting your business plan early. Take full advantage of the resources we’ve provided. Make sure you attend the Contestant Reception.

If I am a high school student with a business or an idea for a business, can I enter?
The contest is open to anyone 18 years of age and older.

Do I have to submit a full-length business plan if I’m selected as a Finalist?
No. The only business plan submission is the summary version: Business Plan Summary Form and Financial Form

Do I have to be a member of the Gwinnett Chamber to enter?
No.

Are non-profit corporations eligible to enter?
No. The contest is limited to for-profit businesses.

Can I submit materials in addition to the entry documents listed on this website?
No, sorry. We know you’re proud of your marketing materials, and you should be. But, this contest is about the thoroughness of your plan. Your other materials will not be considered during the evaluation of your submissions. Brochures, folders, flyers, photographs, and the like will not be shown to the evaluators. Only the entry documents listed on this website will be reviewed.

Any other tips?
Yes. If you have any further questions – any at all – don’t hesitate to contact Mark Farmer at mfarmer@gwinnettchamber.org. He’s there to help. Second, take advantage of the workshops  we’ve scheduled to help with your entries. Finally, don’t wait until the last minute to start your plan. The contestants who score near the top and become Finalists always have sharp entries. Besides, don’t forget that this is the plan for your business! It should be thorough!