$25k Start-Up Challenge winner named


Play@Work, a business whose goal is to help parents balance family and work responsibilities, has been named the winner of the Manchester Young Professionals Network's second annual NH Start-up Challenge business plan competition.Play@Work will receive a $25,000 cash award and in-kind professional services and products donated to launch the business, which would offer office space to busy parents while their young children enjoy a supervised playgroup in a child-friendly atmosphere.It's the idea of Melissa Gardner and Katie McQuaid Cote, who developed the Play@Work concept to help parents use telecommuting technology to spend more time with their children during the workday while still remaining productive employees.“We wrote our initial business plan for Play@Work a year ago. But life got busy, the economy got bad, and we put our plans on hold,” said Cote. “The MYPN New Hampshire Start-up Challenge offered an incredible opportunity for us to realize our dream of creating a location for families to achieve the work/life balance that they desperately desire."More than 60 New Hampshire entrepreneurs entered the competition, and four startups -- Play@Work, the Manchester Food Co-op, Smart Energy Frontier and House Heritage -- were chosen as finalists. Their foundrs attended the Stonyfield Farm Entrepreneurial Institute and received guidance and support on aspects of their business plan.Two finalists, Play@Work and Smart Energy Frontier were chosen to present their business plan to a panel of judges.The competition was sponsored by Public Service of New Hampshire, Ocean Bank, Dynamic Network Services, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green and William Steele & Associates. -- JEFF FEINGOLD/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW
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