Startup Challenge seeks competitors

Startups in New Hampshire that could use a leg up to get their business off the ground are encouraged to get in the running for the state’s largest business plan competition, which offers the winning idea $35,000 in cash and prizes.Launched in 2008 by the Manchester Young Professionals Network, the New Hampshire Start-Up Challenge is open to entrepreneurs across the state who need help getting their business up and running.Applicants must be New Hampshire residents and must be the owner or founder of a for-profit business that is less than three years old, has raised less than $100,000 in funding and generated less than $100,000 in revenue in 2011.The winner will receive a total prize package exceeding $35,000, including up to $25,000 in cash. The winner also gets a seat in the abi Innovation Hub’s Accelerator Program and a one-year residence at the incubator, legal services from the McLane Law Firm and accounting services from Howe, Riley & Howe, CPA.The winner also lands a trip to the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, courtesy of Dyn Inc., which includes airfare, three days’ and two nights’ accommodations, a two-day pass to SXSW Interactive and a VIP pass to the Dyn SXSW Music Meets Tech party.In order to qualify, contestants must email a summary of a business plan or idea — one or two pages long, at minimum — to by April 16. Video pitches are also strongly encouraged along with the written submission.On April 20, five contestants will be selected to participate in a series of educational forums coordinated by the abi Innovation Hub. These semi-finalists will be asked to draft and submit a formal business plan, which they will have the opportunity to pitch before a live audience on May 17 at the abi.Two finalists will be selected on May 22 to hone their business plans and prepare for a closed presentation before a panel of judges on May 31.The competition will culminate with a final live pitch event June 20 before a large audience at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.Public Service of New Hampshire is presenting sponsor of the challenge. Additional sponsors include Dyn, abi Innovation Hub, McLane Law Firm, Howe, Riley & Howe and Montagne Communications.Past winners include Nearby Registry in 2011, Play@Work in 2010, and Float Left Labs and Alternative Fuels and Technologies in 2009.For more information and complete rules of the competition, please visit — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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