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Waynesboro's WISE Competition Aims to Attract Entrepreneurs - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Waynesboro's WISE Competition Aims to Attract Entrepreneurs

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Do you have a great idea for your own business, but aren't sure how to get it off the ground?  The city of Waynesboro aims to give you that chance, with a unique competition for budding entrepreneurs.

Waynesboro hopes to entice the next generation of entrepreneurs with startup cash and a place to set up shop in the city's downtown.  The Waynesboro Innovative Student Entrepreneur (WISE) competition aims to find the three most promising plans for a new business, and get them the help they'll surely need.

Opening and sustaining a small business takes far more than a great idea. 

"It requires a great deal of research, a great deal of interaction with those potential customers, and sadly, a lot of people who want to start a business just don't do all of that," Betty Hoge with the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center said.

That's why the small business development center is helping young people get "WISE".  The competition is looking for college-age entrants.

Katie McElroy with the city of Waynesboro said, "Students who are about to graduate or are in school and have this idea for a business, and they don't know where they're going to start it, or if they're going to start it, or how they're going to start it."

A dozen finalists will get help drawing up a business plan and presenting it to the Waynesboro Economic Development Authority.  Three winners will get commercial space downtown, and $5,000 to help with startup costs.

"It's something that can take off and be sustainable, and add to the successfulness of downtown Waynesboro, will be a lot of the criteria used in selecting those eventual three winners," Hoge said. 

Those new business owners will also get mentorship and networking assistance to help keep them afloat.

"This is a long-term plan, and we want to engage those students who just…they don't know where they're going to go, or what the future holds for them.  But hopefully we can foster that business here in Waynesboro," McElroy said. 

Aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take a shot at the WISE Competition have until November 23 to sign up.  Click here for more information and to download an application. 

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