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VidFall CEO Joel Robinson, winner of the 2015 New Hampshire Startup Challenge (left), standing with Jeff Kelley, co-founder of BevNow and winner of the People’s Choice award (right). Courtesy photo.




NH Startup Challenge Kickoff

When: Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Alpha Loft, 844 Elm St., Suite 100, Manchester
Cost: Free. Register online. 
Visit: mypn.org




Up to the challenge
Startup competition kicks off in Manchester

02/18/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 A four-month-long competition designed to help promising entrepreneurs advance their business plans will have its kickoff event at the Manchester Alpha Loft on Wednesday, Feb. 24, as part of National Entrepreneurship Week.

The Manchester Young Professionals Network’s 9th annual New Hampshire Startup Challenge will give Granite State startup companies the opportunity to compete for up to $70,000 in cash and in-kind services. The kickoff event will provide information about the competition, tips from past winners and networking with business leaders, inventors and entrepreneurs. Gov. Maggie Hassan will also make an appearance. 
“A lot of New Hampshire is built on entrepreneurship so the competition was started to further that,” Timothy Paradis, co-chair of the challenge, said. “It gives people who want to open their own business an opportunity to develop that process and, if they win, get the cash and services to support and further their business.”
To enter the competition, you must be a New Hampshire resident and the owner or founder of a startup. Your startup needs to be for-profit, to have been in existence for less than three years, to have raised less than $100,000 in funding and to have generated less than $100,000 in revenue in 2015. 
The first-round application is due March 18. On the form, applicants are asked to provide an overview of their startup’s history, products or services, marketing opportunities, competitive advantage, business strategy, team members’ roles, a five-year financial projection and, finally, an explanation of how they will use the prize money and in-kind services if they win the challenge. 
From the applications, five to seven semi-finalists will be chosen to give a five-minute live pitch at the public semi-final event on April 5. Then, three finalists will be chosen to work with Alpha Loft mentors to prepare for a closed, in-depth presentation of their business plan to a panel of judges on April 25. The finalists will give one last live pitch to a public audience at the final event on May 11, when the winner will be announced.  
The winning startup will receive $55,000 in cash and in-kind services; legal, accounting and marketing services from various local businesses, and a one-year residency at Alpha Loft. The second-place startup will receive a cash prize between $5,000 and $10,000, and the People’s Choice Award winner selected by the audience will receive a cash prize of up to $5,000. 
Paradis says the startups who don’t win a prize will still gain valuable experience and feedback and form connections. 
“An idea is just the beginning,” he said. “To move forward, you need to believe in your idea, and the challenge provides a support system for people who may otherwise feel like their business doesn’t have value, to help them keep plugging along.”





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