Elgin Woman Wins $10,000 in ECC's First-Ever Business-Plan Competition

Elgin Woman Wins $10,000 in ECC’s First-Ever Business-Plan Competition

Michelle Lipinski of Rubino Engineering, Inc. in Elgin won $10,000 in a first-ever competition designed to encourage business growth in the Fox Valley area.

During a celebration Tuesday, June 23, at 25N Coworking, located at 25 North Third St., in Geneva, Lipinski’s company was awarded not only the $10,000 cash prize but a consulting engagement offered through the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center valued at $5,000 in the Poised for Growth Business Plan Competition, organized by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Elgin Community College.

The competition was organized by Sybil Ege, an ECC business analyst and SBDC Center director, who also provided coaching services to the contestants.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 8.57.43 AM“The purpose of the competition was to get existing businesses to plan for their company’s growth in a deliberate way, and demonstrate their ability to manage that growth responsibly for three years,” Ege said.

The remaining finalists were Ariel Ries of Smalltown Skate Shop, Matt and Chris Klein of Klein’s Quality Produce, LLC, Dan Mancera of Cassandra Strings, Inc., Gary and Diana McNeil of D’Angelo Natural Spring Water, Inc., Anja Griess of Doggie Has It, Tom and Athena Seefurth of Chef Tom, Inc., Derik Bahl of Quality Systems Solutions, Inc., Gladys Moscoso of E-M Metal Fab. Corp., and Laurie Huspen of Valuable Resources, Co.

To participate, a business had to be headquartered in Illinois, be at least 3 years old, be classified as “for profit” and a “small business.“ Thirty-two qualified contestants applied between Jan. 12 and March 31, 2015.

The competition consisted of three phases. Phase one confirmed applicant eligibility. All who qualified progressed to phase two, where owners submitted a written plan detailing their tactics for the future growth of their business over the next three years. In the final phase, the top ten contestants gave a brief presentation to a panel of four judges on June 9. The scores from phases two and three were added together to determine a final score for each of the contestants.

The SBDC hopes to interest three-to-five times more businesses to apply for next year’s competition, which will be promoted at a more regional level.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Elgin Community College provides counseling services and business workshops to start-ups and existing small businesses. To learn more, visit elgin.edu/sbdc or call the IL SBDC at ECC at 847-214-7488.

SOURCE: Illinois Small Business Development Center press release