Jump-Start Downtown

Do you have an idea for a new business but need help getting it off the ground? The Hutchinson Economic Development Authority wants to give one savvy entrepreneur a boost with its Jump-Start Downtown business plan contest.

The goal of the contest is to promote the start-up of a new business on Main Street Hutchinson. And with a $30,000 prize package, it might be the largest business plan contest in the state.

“We wanted to provide everything a start-up business needs to succeed,” said Mike McGraw, EDA Board president, in a press release.

Any type of business is eligible, so long as it meets the zoning requirements of downtown Hutchinson. The contest will unfold over three rounds:

  • Round 1: Contestants must fill out a one-page business proposal online at jumpstartdowntown.com. The deadline is 4 p.m. Friday, April 9. A panel of small business experts will review all proposals and invite the most promising entries to the next round.
  • Round 2: Those invited to the second round of the contest must then submit a full-fledged business plan due by Friday, May 21. The top finalists will be selected to move on to the final round.
  • Round 3: Finalists will have one week to prepare for an oral presentation to a panel of judges on Monday, June 7. The winner will be announced immediately afterwards, and the new business will have to open on Hutchinson’s Main Street by Monday, Oct. 11.

Prizes to the winner include $15,000 in start-up capital, $2,000 for a new sign or awning, business coaching and mentoring, a free website with one year of hosting, advertising, logo design, business cards, letterhead and envelopes.

All contest information, including contest rules, the entry form and other details, are online at jumpstartdowntown.com.