Meet The 2018 Enterprise Challenge Business Plan Contest Winners

Congratulations to the 2018 Enterprise Challenge business plan contest winners!

Taking the top prize of $10,000 was Instar Naturals, LLC, a technology company combining nature and science to increase yield and honeybee activity in pollinated crops worldwide.

Chris Nobbs of Instar Naturals, LLC said, “Instar Naturals is now prepared to do business after participating in the Enterprise Challenge! Thank you to Jean, Sarah and everyone at YCDA for teaching, encouraging and helping us prepare our business to succeed in Yakima County. We look forward to bringing employment opportunities and new products to spotlight Yakima and show its continued investment and involvement in cutting-edge agriculture.

“We also would like to thank the other participants in the competition. Each of us could have easily won the challenge. The quality of businesses were exceptional in this year’s competition and we wish you all the best of luck with your businesses in the future. Thank you to all the local business volunteers who judged and gave us this opportunity as well. We stand firm in our commitment to giving back to our community and supporting Yakima. We thank you for trusting us with the opportunity to help make Yakima an amazing place to live and work!”

Second place and the $5,000 prize went to Gigabeam Internet, a local provider of internet and streaming TV services in rural areas of the Yakima Valley.

“I am very excited, and very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s Enterprise Challenge, said Jason Telles, business owner. “Everyone that participated did a fantastic job, and I am very excited to see how all of these new businesses do in the future.  The competition was very tough, and the wide range of different business was amazing to see.  I also want to thank the staff at YCDA; especially Jean, Sara, and everyone that helped organize the Enterprise Challenge!!  They were all great mentors with a lot of good ideas and information.

“Future plans for Gigabaeam is to continue to build wireless towers for Internet and TV in West Valley, Tampico, Wenas, and the Cowiche and Naches area.  In 2019, we have plans to build 15 towers in the Lower Valley for wireless Internet and TV. We are also looking for developers that are interested in implementing a Fiber To The Home/Business solution throughout their residential/business developments.  Our purpose is to provide Innovative High Speed Internet and TV services to the underserved communities of the Yakima Valley and region.”

Coming in third was Natalie DeHaven Cakes. They were awarded $2,500 to grow their custom cake studio where they create unique cakes that are amazing works of art and unforgettably delicious.

“I would encourage anyone passionate about taking their business to the next level to compete in the Enterprise Challenge. For me, said Natalie DeHaven, the cash prize was just the cherry on top, because I learned so much more during the process of competing.

“I was challenged to write a business plan in order to find out what I really needed to grow. Along the way, I received advice and support from many amazing local business owners and even a news feature on KIMA News and the Yakima Herald. I plan to put the $2,500 prize towards the lease and remodel of a new kitchen space and to make more custom cakes for my community,” said Natalie DeHaven, owner of Natalie DeHaven Cakes.”

“Ultimately, all the participants are winners,” said Jean Brown, Business Development Director for Yakima County Development Association (YCDA). “Every entrepreneur in our competition participates in intense coursework designed to improve their success, and each team gains valuable insights through one-on-one mentoring with community experts.”

The Enterprise Challenge has helped over 185 entrepreneurial endeavors in Yakima and Kittitas counties since its inception in 2010. Over 65% of the businesses that launched are still in business today, creating jobs and growing local economies. “That’s better than the average success rate for startups,” said Jonathan Smith, Executive Director for YCDA, “and positive validation that our program truly helps these new enterprises succeed.”

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