Welcome to the 2018 Enterprise Challenge!

What is the Enterprise Challenge?

The Enterprise Challenge is an annual business plan contest for new and emerging companies in Yakima and Kittitas Counties. We believe it is a great way for our organization and the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce to celebrate small business and support promising ventures in Central Washington. Over 80 entrepreneurs have competed in the contest since its inception and many of them have gone on to start businesses in our communities.

Over $17,500 in cash prizes will be awarded to contest winners this year (1st place wins $10,000! 2nd Place gets $5,000 and 3rd Place gets $2,500). The bigger goal though is to help every entrepreneur involved in the contest advance or improve their business.

Contestant Benefits:

  • Instruction on business planning, marketing, financing, technology and related topics.
  • Follow-up help sessions with experts in finance, marketing, law and other business topics
  • Feedback on plans submitted by at least seven judges who have practical business experience
  • Opportunities to network and collaborate with other great entrepreneurs
  • Significant publicity for your business through local media and other channels

How the Competition Works:

  • Contestants attend classes and tutoring sessions that help them develop their business plans.
  • Plans are submitted to judges who evaluate each enterprise*
  • Contestants with the highest scores move on through two more stages of the contest over the following two months
  • The contest features a pitch your business trade show and a final presentation round
  • Winners are announced a gala awards banquet

*Judges use scoring criteria to evaluate contestants on how well they have thought through and developed their enterprise’s marketing, financing, management, and operations plans. These judges provide contestants feedback on their ventures and business plans which is invaluable information for anyone launching a new business. (Click here for contest rules and scoring details)

The biggest benefit is that participants get the counsel and support they need to get their businesses off to a strong start. We designed the contest so that it helps all participants even if they don’t advance to the winner’s circle. By offering in-depth business seminars and offering hands on counseling to everyone in the contest, we are confident that our participants gain traction with their enterprise and learn what it takes to launch a successful business.

Entrepreneurs from all parts of Yakima and Kittitas Counties have boosted their businesses with the help of the Enterprise Challenge. You may recognize Jenny Maes Gluten Free Bakery, Washington Vision Therapy, Nana Kates, Madd Hatters Haunt and Amusement, and Tieton Farm & Creamery, all businesses that entered the contest and are thriving today.

If you have questions about the contest or want more information, please contact Jean Brown at 509-575-1140 or jean@ycda.com or Sarah Truglio at 509-925-2002 or sarah@kittitascountychamber.com.

Contest Rules & Eligibility Requirements

The Enterprise Challenge is for individuals, teams or companies that are located in Yakima and Kittitas County.  Participants must comply with the following:

  1. Teams and/or businesses must be based in either Yakima or Kittitas County, Washington and/or plan to locate the business in either County.
  2. Business plans may be submitted by individuals or teams.  Teams may have a maximum of five members.
  3. For a team or company, at least 50% of the partners must be located in either Yakima or Kittitas County, or the business is located in either County.
  4. The applicant and team members that are identified as owners, managers or primary business funders are required to attend at least one workshop and attend the Entrepreneur Trade Show to advance to the final round of the contest.
  5. Contestants under 18 years of age must have a signed consent form from a parent or legal guardian.
  6. The business must have been in operation for less than two years with gross receipts under $1 million, or it must be a new business venture.  New Vision may request supporting documentation for verification.
  7. Business must be ‘for-profit’ with any area of commercial endeavor valid (nonprofit organizations running for profit ventures are eligible to compete in the contest).
  8. Contest judges will recues themselves if he/she has a conflict of interest (i.e. family, financial or business relationship).
  9. Judges decisions are final, including interpretation of the rules.
  10. Previous Enterprise Challenge participants may enter with a new business; however cash prize winners from previous Enterprise Challenges are not eligible.
  11. Winners will receive half their prize money at the awards ceremony and the other half at a mutually agreed upon milestone.  (i.e.- official opening of business).

**In the event that the contest does not generate enough participants, New Vision reserves the right to amend cash prize amounts or registration deadlines.

Judging Criteria 

There are five categories, each worth 5 possible points for a total of  25

Business Opportunity- 5 possible points

Does the plan:

  • describe the problem the company is solving and its distinctive solution?
  • identify and describe the target market?
  • identify and describe the competition and key advantages?

Business Execution- 5 possible points

Does the plan:

  • describe the marketing and sales plan?
  • describe the company operations?
  • identify the company milestones and metrics?

Company Overview- 5 possible points

Does the plan:

  • describe the ownership structure?
  • describe the history of the owners and businesses?
  • describe the team of owners and managers?

Financial Plan- 5 possible points

Does the plan:

  • describe the key financial projections and forecast?
  • describe the use and sources of funding?
  • (FINAL ROUND ONLY) provide realistic financial statements (must include profit & loss, cash flow, and balance sheet)?

Economic Impact- 5 possible points

Does the plan:

  • demonstrate a business investment in the community, county, or region?
  • demonstrate potential to grow and produce substantial impacts?
  • demonstrate the creation of direct and indirect jobs?

We are excited you have decided to join this year’s business plan contest.  To register simply click the Register Now button below and it will direct you to the online registration form and payment options.

  • The EARLY Registration Deadline is December 29th, 2017 at 5:00 p.m  –  Early Registration Fee $200. *
  • FINAL Registration Deadline is January 5, 2018 at 5:00 p.m  –  Fee $225.*

Fee is for an individual or a team, up to five members are allowed on a team.

REGISTER NOW

NOTE:  We process credit card payments through PayPal, you do not need a PayPal account but it does apply a $3 processing fee.  We do accept personal checks, just click that option on the payment indicator and deliver a check to our office by the deadlines above.  Thank you.

*In the event that the contest does not generate enough participants, Yakima County Development Association reserves the right to amend cash prize amounts or registration deadlines.

2017 Winners:

Winners of the 2017 Enterprise Challenge Business Plan ContestWhipsaw Brewing won the Enterprise Challenge and will receive $10,000.  Whipsaw Brewing produces high quality, fresh beer for its tap room in the heart of Ellensburg and for distribution statewide.  They are a local hot spot being the only family and pet friendly tasting room in town.  They pride themselves on their partnerships with other brewers and eateries with a vision to claim Ellensburg as a craft brew destination.  Their passion and commitment to creating excellent beer as well as a unique customer experience sets them on a path for growth.

Sorbatto placed second in the contest and will receive $5,000.  Sorbatto is a premium whole fruit, blueberry based frozen dessert.  This Frost Blue creamy treat is offered in four amazing flavors and is rich in antioxidants with low allergen risks.  The family based business manufactures it’s product in Wapato, in the heart of their blueberry farm.  Jeff and Terri Weijohn are 4th generation farmers and partnered with family members Jerrod and Jennifer Gable they run the new enterprise.  Sorbatto can be found in select stores with plans to take it global in the next year.

Wycked Hitch took third place in the contest and won $2500. Wycked Hitch manufactures the hitch system for the popular Polaris Slingshot. This specialized hitch is highly sought after by Slingshot owners and dealers alike. This company holds the patent for this revolutionary trailer hitch system and is the only manufacturer that is addressing the need for a custom hitch in this market. Owner Rich Arlt recruited his entire family to support their venture. Each family member addresses a different area of the business and is an integral part of the Wycked team.


2015 Winners:

2015 Enterprise Challenge WinnersYakima Hop Candy won New Vision’s Enterprise Challenge and will receive $10,000. Yakima Hop Candy is the proud creator of LollyHops. This boutique pop is infused with locally grown hops and comes in more than 14 natural flavors. The young company has experienced a lot of exposure since they are the only Hop infused sucker on the market. Their hop candies are sold all over the world and have become a popular addition to events by allowing customers to personalize the labels. With full time efforts from the founder Heather Hadsel they plan to venture into other hop related confections.

Pearl Street Optical placed second in the contest and will receive $5,000. Rachel Crites took her vast experience in the optical field and added her own style and flare to open the newest pharmacy for your eyes in Ellensburg. Pearl Street Optical offers prescription glasses, contacts, sunglasses, and recreation eyewear in a wide range of prices and styles. Rachel gives the boutique experience to each customer with personalized service and care.

Mama Hogues Kitchen took third place in the contest and won $2500. Sabin Hogue launched her savory meals to go business with the intent of bringing busy families back around the table to enjoy a wholesome meal. She offers customers quick healthy meal choices that are simple to order, pick up, and pop in the oven. Her love and care for her customers is evident in her business model.


2014 Winners:

2014 Enterprise Challenge WinnersClaim Clothing is a new business that started last spring in downtown Ellensburg. Claim Clothing provides young contemporary women’s clothing, denim, jewelry, accessories and handcrafted home goods to the greater Kittitas Valley. Owners Megan and Jared West manage the downtown store and both have strong backgrounds in retail marketing and merchandising.  They plan to use their $10,000 prize money to increase their online shopping experience.

Nana Kate’s placed second in the contest and will receive $5,000.  Nana Kate’s specializes in local, organic, ingredients that make for delectable meals and snacks that are healthy, made from scratch, and include gluten free and vegan options.  Owner Katherine Platt operates the company’s store in Selah but sells a lot of their products wholesale to local coffee stands and eateries.

Chestnut Market took third place in the contest and won $2500.  Chestnut Market is a startup gourmet deli and grocery store that plans to open sometime in 2015.  Entrepreneur Geoff Howell plans use his extensive experience in the restaurant and wine industries to pinpoint popular products and provide outstanding customer service to people in the Greater Yakima area.


2013 Winners:

Spring Harvest Fiber Mill won and is proud to produce yarns and fiber products made from Alpacas. The company used their prize winnings to purchase more equipment and support staffing increases.

Active Life Chiropractic placed second in the contest and received $5,000. The chiropractic business opened last year in Yakima and specializes in sports related injuries and treating children.

4 Seasons Fresh took third place in the contest and won $2500. Entrepreneurs Mathew Buchanann and Jedidiah Haney are planning to launch a greenhouse farm that can produces high quality vegetables, herbs, gourmet mushrooms, and fresh whole fish the year round.


2012 Winners:

2012 Enterprise Challenge WinnersSelah’s Smiles, a specialized dental clinic located in Selah won top prize. Dr. Tyrone Rodriguez is a pediatric dentist who specializes in treating kids, people with special needs and anxious adults.

The Drawing Board placed second. The Drawing Board will be a bistro styled gathering place located in downtown Yakima.

Yakima Coupons took third place. This enterprise will connect local businesses with consumers by providing savings through coupons and online deals.


2011 Winners:

Washington Vision Therapy Center won New Vision’s 2011 Enterprise Challenge. The Yakima-based eye clinic specializes in providing vision therapy to clients with a particular focus on helping kids. Winters and his staff help patients correct vision problems that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lens alone.

Hop Central Brewing Company placed second in the contest. The owners are planning to open a new microbrewery in downtown Yakima.

Milt’s Original Gourmet BBQ Pellets took third place. The Grandview-based company manufactures flavor enhancing barbecue pellets made from fruit wood, food processing wastes and other reclaimed ingredients.


2010 Winners:

2010 Enterprise Challenge WinnersTieton Farm & Creamery won New Vision’s 2010 Enterprise Challenge. Tieton Farm & Creamery combines responsible farming methods and artisan cheese making techniques to produce small batches of high-quality cheeses, such as fresh chevre, feta, provolone and grill-able Halloumi.

Jenny Mae’s Gluten Free Bakery placed second. Jenny Mae’s gluten free bakery is an allergen free bakery, specializing in breads, buns, cookies, pies, and more. The company started last year and has plans to expand into wholesale baked goods over the next year.

Cascade Animal Care Products took 3rd place. The company specializes in total care for animals. Products include antibiotics, vaccinations, de-wormers, special supplements and retail supplies to keep animals healthy and happy. The company plans to expand its retail and wholesale sales over the next two years.