Contest: Entrepreneurs can win space in mall

Monday, April 13, 2009

Those who have been thinking about starting up a new business now have an extra incentive to put their plans and ideas on paper.

A contest sponsored by West Park Mall and The Southeast Missourian will give budding entrepreneurs a chance to win use of space in the mall for six months and ad space in the newspaper.

Local residents 18 years and older will develop a business plan that can be used to start a corporation that will be located inside the mall. Each team of entrepreneurs will participate in a series of competitions that will culminate with three finalists presenting their idea to a panel of judges July 10.

Registration for the contest begins today, with a business plan of 250 words or less due by May 11. Those with the top 20 plans will then be asked to submit a more detailed 20-page plan that includes charts, graphs, appendices and financial data.

The top three winners will then advance to the final competition in July that will consist of a 10-minute oral presentation followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session by the competition's judges.

The grand prize winner will receive professional assistance from local business organizations, use of space with rent and utilities waived by the mall for six months and advertising space in the Southeast Missourian. The winner must have the business fully operational by August.

Susan Godorov, spokeswoman for the Centro Property Groups, which owns the mall, said similar competitions have been held throughout the country.

"We're offering to partner with that business and help them succeed," Godorov said. "During their time at the mall they'll be surrounded by successful businesses.

"We'll help defray a lot of startup costs that businesses normally see," she said. "And being in the mall will build up foot traffic, which further helps that business out."

For more information, contact West Park Mall at 339-1333 or e-mail info@shopwestpark.com.

@contact note:

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

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