Century Business Challenge
Win $25K Business Challenge

Application - Century Business Challenge

Application for Participation (Due by Tuesday, March 31, 2015)

Your Personalized Business Startup Package

Here are the details on the startup offer that will be made to the winning business, valued at over $25,000 including all capital costs, rental discounts and personal services.

  • A one (1) year lease of newly-redeveloped space at the Century Business Center at the rental rate of $1 with an option of a two year lease extension with rent based on the overall financial health of the business. (One year lease of newly-redeveloped space in the Century Business Center for $1 will also be available to the second place finalist.)

  • $25,000 to use on business startup costs.

  • Signage at the Century Business Center.

  • Finally, the Century Business Challenge will provide intensive management and consulting support throughout the build-out and start-up process, as well as ongoing advice and mentoring throughout the term of the lease, provided by a team of successful business and entrepreneurial professionals. This training and mentorship will include basic accounting and bookkeeping, marketing and sales advice, product and pricing strategies, employee management, process development, implementation of best practices, and ongoing financial guidance.

If you win the Challenge team will help you navigate the details of the arrangements. Our goal is to help you succeed, so sign up today!

Five Steps to Win Your Startup Package

  • Step 1: If possible (not required), attend the Challenge Orientation in mid-February. Here you will get an overview of the Challenge and the process, and have a chance to ask questions.

    Prior to application deadline - open to the general public:
    • Tuesday, March 3rd @ 6:00 pm - Orientation - Century Community Center (corner of West Highway 4 and Industrial Blvd). Open to all interested participants. Attendees will learn more about the Century Business Challenge process and the resources available to them as they develop their business plan. Pre-registration is recommended but not required. Email atyler1@uwf.edu.
    • Tuesday, March 17th @ 6:00 pm - "Is Your Business Concept Feasible" Workshop - PSC Century Campus Rm. 7720 (440 E. Hecker Road). Open to all interested participants. A business concept is a bridge between an idea and a business plan. It helps the entrepreneur identify the specifics of his/her proposed venture. Learn the essentials for developing your business concept and leave with a foundation for moving forward. Pre-registration is recommended but not required. Email atyler1@uwf.edu. The Century Business Center grounds will be open to interested participants from 5:15 - 5:45 pm prior to the Business Concept workshop that 6:00 pm.  

    Post application deadline - workshops open to registered Century Business Challenge Participants only:
    • Tuesday, April 7th @ 6:00 pm - "Starting a Business" Workshop - PSC Century Campus Rm. 7720 (440 E. Hecker Road). Take the first step in starting your small business! Attendees will learn the essentials for getting started in business including: idea evaluation, legal business structures, regulations & licensing, taxation, finding capital and more.
    • Wednesday, April 8th @ 6:00 pm - "Crafting a Business Plan" Workshop - PSC Century Campus Rm. 7720 (440 E. Hecker Road). Attendees will discover the key components and the basics of writing a business plan.
    • Thursday, April 9th @ 6:00 pm - "Market Research & Financial Projections" Workshop - PSC Century Campus Rm. 7720 (440 E. Hecker Road). During this workshop, attendees will learn how to use market research and data to help them prepare believable financial projections to start or grow their business. Market research and financial projections are a very important part of a business plan as it shows a lending institution how your business should perform financially. Attendees are asked to bring a calculator.

    Participants that have submitted their application can receive access to the business plan software following the workshop on March 17th until applications are due on March 31st.  

  • Step 2: Download and submit your completed initial application by March 31, 2015. This lets the Challenge know you are a registered applicant, and provides us some basic personal and business idea information.

  • Step 3: Write your business plan. You will have until May 29, 2015 to complete it, at which time it must be submitted. As part of the business plan, you will also submit a personal financial statement. You will have plenty of resources at your disposal to assist in this process, and we urge you to take advantage of all of it. You will be assigned a mentor from the SBDC of UWF who will also be available to assist with your plan. There will be a series of 3 workshops held in mid-April (Date/location TBD) to get you started.
    • Workshop 1 – How to Start a Business in Florida
    • Workshop 2 – Crafting a Business Plan
    • Workshop 3 – Market Research and Financial Projections

  • Step 4: The judging panel will notify you if you have made it to the final round. If so, you will present your plan in person in “elevator pitch” format to the judging panel. Click here to learn more about judging criteria.

Judging Criteria

What Should the Winning Business Have?

  • One great idea: The winning business will be a concept that will “fit” in Century. What would be the perfect complement to the existing businesses in the community? What is needed in the marketplace and how will you meet that need in a way that makes customers choose you?

  • A realistic, thoughtful plan: Our judges will be looking to see who has taken the time to research and analyze the facts, as well as develop a clear strategy for the business concept’s success and profitability.

  • The right attitude: At its core, the Century Business Challenge is a partnership between the organization and the winning business. We want an honest, passionate and motivated entrepreneur with the experience and dedication to be successful, as well as a great neighbor to the Century community.

Challenge Selection Criteria:

Each business plan submitted will be evaluated by a panel of local business and entrepreneurial experts, based on the criteria below. Judges, as well as every member of the Challenge Team will sign confidentiality agreements to protect your business ideas, business plan scores and comments, and intellectual property.

Following the scoring phase, business plans will be ranked and the top finalist will proceed to an interview round. Your business plan will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • 35 points – Judge’s view of the viability of the business concept. You have to have a good business model.

  • 35 points – Judge’s view of candidate and her/his ability to execute the plan. Are you ready for the task?

  • 25 points – Quality of the plan, including research, presentation, and realism of projections. Did you take this planning phase seriously?

  • 5 points – Discretionary points. Do you have that something special?


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