Search begins for second $50K startup winner

The local 1st50K program, organized by the business incubator Codefi, recently got a big boost when Gov. Jay Nixon announced the program will receive $325,000, part of a larger amount made available to support business startups in the state.

In August, Amir Atighehchi and Mikey Ahdoot were named the winners of the inaugural contest when their Los-Angeles-based company Nutlock was selected by local judges from start-up ideas from around the world. Nutlock's products are designed to secure bicycle parts from theft. In order to be eligible to win the competition, companies like Nutlock have to commit to developing a presence for operations in Cape Girardeau.

Another Codefi-organized event, this one a Google Startup competition, aimed at supporting new businesses is scheduled for Nov. 13-15.

The Google Startup weekend begins with business hopefuls pitching their ideas. They gather in teams and receive feedback. The event concludes with presentations to the judge. Eventually, a winner will be crowned.

"The point of the competition is to attract and help local entrepreneurs build and develop these tech-based ventures," James Stapleton, Codefi's cofounder, recently said.

Winning teams will receive $3,000 in services from Codefi, support from local entrepreneurs and a chance to make a pitch before the 1st50K startup committee in December.

Stapleton said Codefi "plans to conduct the 1st50K competition twice a year," so those who participate in Startup Weekend in November and don't win the first time may still qualify for the larger competition later.

Considering that winners of 1st50K are granted up to $50,000, pro-bono services and access to successful mentors and entrepreneurs, anyone serious about launching into business should consider Startup Weekend a starting place.

For more information, visit codefiworks.com or cape-girardeau.up.co/events/6217.