Pictured above (L to R): Mark Farmer, Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development & Partnership Gwinnett; Ruth Strickland, CEO, Business Centers; Benny StaRomana, SantaRomana and Associates; Liz McClellan, Sage Software.

Eleven contestants enter small business plans to win $25,000 in prizes

GWINNETT, METRO ATLANTA (May 27, 2011) — Gwinnett Economic Development, in partnership with CEO Business Centers and The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, announced at a reception last night the winner of their inaugural Amazing Entrepreneur Contest — SantaRomana & Associates LLC, which specializes in management consulting.

“The purpose of the Amazing Entrepreneur contest is to reach out to new companies and to potential entrepreneurs in Gwinnett and Metro Atlanta,” said Mark Farmer, Director — Entrepreneurship & Information Services with the Gwinnett Chamber, “giving them the opportunity to receive prizes they can use for support during the critical early phase of their ventures.”

Sponsors included Sage Software and Arnall Golden Gregory. The primary sponsor and creator of the contest, CEO Business Centers, knows firsthand the value of nurturing the development of such fledging companies. “The contest was developed not only to help create an entrepreneurial culture in Gwinnett, but also to expose new business owners to products and services as they make crucial, first-time decisions that could impact the success of their company for years to come,” said Ruth Strickland, President of CEO Business Centers.

Finalists of the contest included Belle Creations, Certification Consultants LLC, Angel’s Closet and Begin Speaking Documentaries. The winner, Benny StaRomana of Lawrenceville, accepted the top prize package on behalf of his company, SantaRomana & Associates LLC, which provides advisory services that serve to define industry trends and resultant strategies and business transition approaches for clients with staff of qualified professional consultants.

“I thought my business was all figured out when I launched it,” said Benny StaRomana, “but the competition provided motivation to do what I should have done at the start: gather, analyze, validate, organize, and document the vital success predictors of the venture.

Planning is already under way for the 2012 contest — more information on the contest, contestants, and sponsorship opportunities are available at http://new.amazingentrepreneurcontest.com. Entrepreneurs who are interested in entering the contest are encouraged to begin updating their business plans in preparation for the contest opening date later this year.