Entrepreneurs in Polk County have a chance to win cash and mentoring from experts thanks to a competition spearheaded by local education and business leaders. New and improved, SlingShot Polk is STEM focused in 2017. Middle, high school, and college students and entrepreneurs under the age of 30 are invited to enter business plans outlining a new idea or venture that provides measurable benefit to the Polk County region and relates to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
In Florida, small businesses represent almost 99% of the employers in the state. That is why in 2015, local educational and business leaders collaborated to create a new business plan competition called SlingShot Polk to create opportunities for Polk County’s young entrepreneurs to develop and fund their business ventures.
New and improved, SlingShot Polk is STEM-focused in 2017. STEM—a priority of the U.S. Department of Education—is imperative for the growth and economic stability of our local cities, county, state, and nation. Students enrolled in a Polk County middle school or high school (or homeschool equivalent) or a bachelor’s or master’s degree program at a college/university located in Polk County and entrepreneurs under the age of 30 as of entry date are invited to submit business plans outlining a new idea or venture that provides measurable benefit to the Polk County region. The entries must be related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The event will be held from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at Florida Polytechnic University, 4700 Research Way, Lakeland, FL 33805.
“Slingshot Polk is an excellent opportunity to support young entrepreneurs in Polk County. I am excited to see the fresh ideas and concepts being presented by this talented group of emerging business leaders,” says Sean Malott, President/CEO, Central Florida Development Council, Inc.
Entries must include a 1-page summary business plan to be submitted online at www.SlingShotPolk.com. Judges will select up to 12 semi-finalists from entries submitted by January 31, 2017. Semifinalists will receive mentoring and training to develop their detailed business plans and enhance their communication skills. Those interested in entering the competition can find helpful information at www.SlingShotPolk.com. First, second, and third place winners in two categories will receive $2,500, $1,500, and $500, respectively.
• Up to four individuals on a team.
• Each team member must meet one (1) of the age/school requirements: 1. Be a student enrolled in a Polk County middle school (or homeschool equivalent); be a student enrolled in a Polk County high school (or homeschool equivalent); be a student enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program at a college/university located in Polk County; be under the age of 30 as of entry date.
• The plan must be for a new venture/idea/concept.
• The plan must be oriented towards being profit-making and economically sustainable.
• The plan must provide measurable benefit to the Polk County region and relate to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
• Example of a non-STEM business venture: a company that sells and delivers cupcakes. Example of a STEM business venture: a company that that sells and delivers cupcakes using drones and renewable energy.
To enter your business plan visit slingshotpolk.com.