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Gwinnett Innovation Challenge 2006 To Provide
Business Plan Competition to Award over $80,000 to Gwinnett Entrepreneurs
Norcross, GA – January 9, 2006 - The Gwinnett Innovation Challenge, www.gwinnettinnovationchallenge.com, a business plan contest announced today, invites entrepreneurs, inventors, students and management teams to compete for over $80,000 in prize money, services and software, the largest competition award package in Georgia. The Challenge, designed to encourage and recognize innovative new business ventures, is open to companies and business plan teams with ties to Gwinnett County and less than two million in annual revenues.
The Gwinnett Innovation Challenge, initiated and organized by Intelligent Systems Corporation, is championed by a number of local leaders with a long history of support for innovation, entrepreneurship and civic service in Gwinnett County. Trailblazer sponsors are Scientific Atlanta, Sage Software and Intelligent Systems; Catalyst sponsors include the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Gwinnett Innovation Park; and the Innovation Network sponsors include Andersen, Tate, Mahaffey & McGarity; Carabiner Communications; Moore Stephens Tiller; Morris, Manning & Martin; and TechCFO. Media sponsor is the Gwinnett Business Journal.
President and CEO of Intelligent Systems, J. Leland Strange, commented, “Having been a major sponsor of other business plan competitions in the past, we decided it was time to focus on entrepreneurs close to home and encourage the next generation of Gwinnett pioneers. With our friends at Scientific Atlanta and Sage Software, together we have contributed a cash prize worthy of Gwinnett entrepreneurs. Judging by the enthusiastic and generous response of the other sponsors as well, the idea tapped into a strong sense of community and illustrates the importance of innovation within the county to all of us.”
Interested entrepreneurs can enter the Gwinnett Innovation Challenge with the submission of a five page executive summary by midnight March 5, 2006. A Semi-final round on March 31, 2006 will include feedback from a judges’ panel of experienced investors, entrepreneurs and executives. The Final round takes place on April 17, 2006 with winners awarded in a ceremony on April 18, 2006. Winners will be chosen in both Seed Stage and Growth Stage categories. Complete contest details and a Challenge Entry Kit are available at www.gwinnettinnovationchallenge.com.
Winners of the business plan competition will be awarded cash prizes totaling $35,000. In addition, winners will receive Innovation Value Cards redeemable for up to $45,000 in professional services and products. Seed Stage category winners will receive $15,000 cash and up to $20,000 in professional services and products and Growth Stage winners will receive $20,000 cash and up to $25,000 in professional services and products. In addition, finalists in both categories will receive copies of Peachtree by Sage Complete Accounting software and all qualified entrants will receive judges’ feedback on their business plan submission.
The Innovation Value Card, a concept similar to a stored value or gift card in the consumer market, can be used by the winners to purchase a specified value of services from sponsors in the Innovation Network. The services offered are particularly tailored for early and growth stage companies and include services such as accounting, tax, legal, financial planning/consulting, office rent and public relations, in addition to organization memberships and small business software products. The Innovation Network members are local companies that have served Gwinnett County businesses for a number of years.
For more than fifty years, Gwinnett County has been home to many pioneering companies, especially in the technology field, that have created successive waves of new ventures and spin-offs. Support for innovation and start-up businesses is increasingly recognized as an important component of county and state economic development. In December 2005, the Governor’s Entrepreneur and Small Business Office designated Gwinnett County as an “Entrepreneur Friendly Community”.
About the Gwinnett Innovation Challenge
The Gwinnett Innovation Challenge is an annual business plan competition designed to recognize and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. The Challenge is open to companies and business plan teams with ties to Gwinnett County and less than two million in annual revenue. Winners in both the Seed Stage and Growth Stage category will share the largest cash and services prizes of any business plan competition in Georgia. Initiated by Trailblazer sponsor Intelligent Systems Corporation, the inaugural 2006 Challenge is also sponsored by technology Trailblazers, Scientific Atlanta and Sage Software; Catalyst sponsors Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Gwinnett Innovation Park; and the Innovation Network sponsors of Andersen, Tate, Mahaffey & McGarity; Carabiner Communications; Moore Stephens Tiller; Morris, Manning & Martin; and TechCFO. Media sponsor is the Gwinnett Business Journal. For more information, visit www.gwinnettinnovationchallenge.com.
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