In 2017, a local resident and business owner walked into the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce office with an idea about how to encourage entrepreneurship, create new jobs and give back to the community that contributed to his own success. Harold Frazier of New Breed Seed Company donated $10,000 and said he simply wanted it to go to someone with a great business plan that would create new jobs in the Cottage Grove area. The Chamber of Commerce, Cottage Grove Community Development Corporation and RAIN Eugene joined for several months of meeting, and in those meetings the Cottage Grove Business Challenge was born.
Twenty-four hopeful entrepreneurs took the challenge and three were chosen to receive funds to help start their businesses: Mike Caven of Sanity Chocolate won the first-place prize of $6,000; Joey Jaraczewski of Sohr Performance + Nutrition won $3,000; and Kim Johnson with Real Live Food Oregon won $1,000.
Later this month, entrepreneurs are invited once again to take the challenge and submit their business plan ideas for a chance to win up to $10,000 in start-up funding. Submissions must come in the form of a (no more than four-page) executive summary of their business plan and the business must create new jobs in the Cottage Grove area.
Those who accept the challenge will have access to a series of classes through Lane Community College and the Small Business Development Center, Liveplan business plan writing software will be provided by Palo Alto, as well as mentor support from seasoned business leaders.
Submissions for the Cottage Grove Business Challenge are due May 1.
A kickoff networking event to generate interest will be held Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m., at The Brewstation, 106 Sixth St. in Cottage Grove. All interested parties including entrepreneurs, investors, sponsors and business leaders are encouraged to attend the kickoff event. Additional challenge information can be found at www.cgbizplan.com.