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Winners are announced in Stroll Business Plan Competition

Winners are announced in Stroll Business Plan Competition

A total of $60,000 in prize awards have been announced in the 2013 Strolling of the Heifers Vermont Business Plan Competition.

The competition is a collaboration of Strolling of the Heifers, a Brattleboro-based local foods advocacy organization, and Vermont Technical College, with additional partnership contributions by Vermont Small Business Development Center, Southern Vermont Community Action, and Vermont Interactive Television.

The competition features three divisions: one for existing businesses, one for new businesses and one for business plans by college students.

The winners are as follows:

In the new business category:

  • First Place, $10,000:  Robbins Mountain Enterprise, Gabriel O’Malley
  • Second Place: $8,000:  Mosaic Organic, Bonnie Paris
  • Third Place, $5,000:  Terra Funga, Peter Winslow
  • Runners-up, $1,500 each:  Whole Fire Farm, Susan Monahan; and Will Aldrich

In the existing business category:

  • First Place $10,000: Evening Song Farm, Kara Fitzgerald, Ryan Wood-Beauchamp
  • Second Place, $8,000:  Wild Flour Vermont Bakery, Patricia Austin
  • Third, $5,000:  Garden Arts Fresh Market & Country Store, Stephen Burzon
  • Runners-up, $1,500 each:  Fat Toad Farm, Calley Hastings; and Pastabilities, Dan Roscioli

In the student category:

  • First Place, $4,000:  Connor Killigrew
  • Second Place, $2,000:  Meg Urie
  • Third Place, $1,000:  AnnaJo Smith

The competition received nearly 120 registrations resulting in 104 completed initial applications, of which 60 submitted the required first-round business prospectuses. From these, 14 finalists were selected.

On June 5, the finalists made presentations to panels of judges at Marlboro College Graduate School in Brattleboro.

Judges selected finalists based on such criteria as: likelihood of success and job creation (direct or indirect). For instance, will the proposed business or expansion create new jobs opportunities, or positively affect other businesses such as suppliers or distributors, or make an ancillary impact such as drawing tourists to the area.

A total of 18 community members volunteered as judges for the competition. Each judge sat on a six-member panel, which was responsible for reviewing and rating submissions and selecting finalists in one of the four designated subdivisions of the competition. The judges represent multiple business sectors including finance, agriculture and food processing.

Finalists will had access to assistance in preparing their business plans and presentations from Vermont Small Business Development Center and Southeast Vermont Community Action. Each finalist will also receive a copy of “The Plan: A Step-By-Step Business Plan Workbook” from VSBDC.

The competition was open to for-profit businesses throughout Vermont. New and existing businesses will compete in separate categories, and there is a student division as well. Existing businesses are defined as those who have operated for 6 months or more and have revenue up to $500,000. New businesses are in the early concept stage or in operation for less than 6 months, with minimal revenue. The student category was open to any student or team of students enrolled at a Vermont college-level institution.

Strolling of the Heifers, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, was founded in 2001 with the goal of helping to save and sustain family farms by connecting people with healthy local food. Annually in June, it presents the Strolling of the Heifers Parade, in which heifer calves and other farm animals, bedecked with flowers, are led up Brattleboro’s Main Street. When it’s over, the crowd follows the parade to the Slow Living Expo for food, entertainment, education, and fun. Both the parade and expo and the main financial vehicle that support the year round initiatives that support the mission of Strolling of the Heifers.  Annually, Strolling of the Heifers also presents the Slow Living Summit conference in Brattleboro focused on sustainable economies, communities and policies.  The annual farm/food business plan competition began in 2011 as a local contest organized in partnership with the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, with a vision to expand statewide. On the web:

Vermont Technical College is the only public institution of higher learning in Vermont whose mission is applied education. One of the five Vermont State Colleges, Vermont Tech serves students from throughout Vermont, New England, and beyond at its two residential campuses in Williston and Randolph Center, regional campuses in Brattleboro and Bennington and at six nursing sites located throughout the state. Our academic programs encompass a wide range of engineering technology, agricultural, health, and business fields that are vital to producing the knowledge workers need most by employers in the state and in the region. On the web: