Competition for women entrepreneurs accepting submissions

Published 3:41 pm Friday, February 11, 2011

AdvantageWest’s entrepreneurial development program and “VERVE,” a monthly magazine targeting Western North Carolina women in the arts, business, fashion and design, announce the launch of the VERVE-aciously BIG Idea Business Plan Competition, a contest for women entrepreneurs.

The competition targets women-owned, for-profit businesses, both established ventures seeking expansion and would-be entrepreneurs with ideas for a startup. A total of $10,000 in cash, prizes, business support services and expert advice will be awarded. Deadline to enter is April 1.

Businesses participating in the VERVE-aciously BIG Idea Business Plan Competition must be located in the 23-county region served by AdvantageWest, the economic development partnership for Western North Carolina (see list of counties below). The contest is open to businesses in any industry segment, though high-growth businesses or those that use technology in an innovative way are strongly encouraged. Businesses co-owned by men will not be considered.

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A panel of judges that will include representatives of AdvantageWest and “VERVE,” as well as business and academic leaders, will review all submissions. Winners will be announced at Carolina Connect, AdvantageWest’s signature annual conference for entrepreneurs and investors, held on May 5 in Asheville.

The winner of the VERVE-aciously BIG Idea Business Plan Competition will be profiled in “VERVE Magazine” in the June 2011 issue. A business coach provided by Mountain BizWorks – a nonprofit organization offering small-business assistance and lending programs, which is also co-sponsoring Carolina Connect – will be paired with the winner and will monitor the company’s progress at the end of six months and one year.

Full competition guidelines are available at

AdvantageWest is a nonprofit, public-private partnership chartered by the state General Assembly that serves these 23 counties of Western North Carolina: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey. In addition to entrepreneurial development, AdvantageWest’s program of work also focuses on advanced manufacturing, the green economy and agribusiness through Blue Ridge Food Ventures. AdvantageWest also maintains the WNC Film Commission. Visit for more information or call 828-687-7234.