Entrepreneur competition to return to LFCC

The Small Business Development Center at Lord Fairfax Community College will reboot its “Shark Tank” style entrepreneur competition for a second year after its Entrepreneur Cafe last year was a success.

This year, the competition has been rebranded as RISE – Regional Initiative Supporting Entrepreneurship – with Bright Box Theater serving as its title sponsor. The grand prize winner will take home $8,500 worth of prizes, including $5,000 cash.

Christine Kriz is the director of the Small Business Development Center at LFCC.

“Our overall mission at the SBDC is to help improve the economy of the areas that we serve through education and consultation,” she said. “Our hope with this program is that we will improve the economy in all the counties we serve.”

The format of the series of events will follow a structure similar to last year. Applicants will attend six weekly workshops led by Lord Fairfax and Shenandoah University professors as well as local business people and will develop their business plan based on the knowledge gained through those classes. At the end of the six weeks, participants will be whittled down to six finalists who will then compete in the public pitch night, set to take place April 18 at Lord Fairfax Community College’s Middletown campus.

Registration is open and those interested have until Feb. 17 to register. Those wishing to participate must be business owners who have been in business for at least two years and are licensed in Winchester, Front Royal, or the counties of Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah and Page.

Classes will begin Feb. 22 at the Middletown campus and will be broadcast to LFCC’s Page-Luray County Center and to Warrenton/Culpeper.

Bill Long, owner of the Auto Care Clinic in Front Royal, was last year’s big winner, taking home a prize package worth $8,500. Long used the money toward expanding his business by adding several service bays.

“A lot of people have come together to make this possible so it really says a lot about the community that we’re in and their passion to see the community thrive,” Kriz said.

Those interested in registering can do so at www.lfsbdc.org/programs.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com