Business / Economy

New businesses welcome to Startup Challenge

Hollister workshop explains how to apply for 10th annual competition.
Linda and Pat Lampe discuss their potential entry in the 2019 Startup Challenge Monterey Bay with Brad Barbeau, executive director with the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development at CSU-Monterey Bay. This is the 10th year of the business challenge. Photo by Carme de Bertaut.
Application Flyer.
Important dates for Startup Challenge Monterey Bay.

Startup Challenge Monterey Bay representatives met at Hollister City Hall on Feb. 28 with potential entrants in this year’s competition.

“Tonight is about how to apply,” said Brad Barbeau, executive director with the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development at CSU-Monterey Bay, which puts on the event. The reason for the challenge, he said, is “to encourage people to jump in and start a business.”

San Benito County residents Linda and Pat Lampe attended the evening workshop to seek advice about the Social Venture category, a new division in the competition this year that is open to for-profit and nonprofit organizations with a strong social mission.

The Lampes run Hollister Community Outreach, which consists of the Worth Saving thrift store and My Father’s House. Linda said she hoped to find a way to reach the community and have more of an online presence.

Linda said the social venture aspect of the thrift store is to supply low-cost clothing to locals in need, and to take care of their donors and volunteers. She said she was grateful for the advice she received at the workshop and looking forward to moving through the challenge.

This is the 10th year of Startup Challenge Monterey Bay, which is open to businesses and entrepreneurs in San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties. San Benito County businesses have taken first place and runner-up positions in previous challenges, including Mars Hill Coffeehouse, Credo Studio, That Garlic Stuff,  ARTI-Culture and Ohana Shave Ice. Mars Hill Coffeehouse and That Garlic Stuff both took first place in the Main Street division in 2012 and 2018, respectively.

There are four divisions of Startup Challenge Monterey Bay that businesses and entrepreneurs can enter:

  • Venture Division: Businesses intended to scale into large enterprises and provide venture capital-level returns to investors. Total prize money available: $30,000.
  • Social Venture Division: Open to companies and organizations (either for-profit or nonprofit) that have a strong social mission. Total prize money available: $15,000.
  • Main Street Division: Open to small businesses and sole proprietorships. Total prize money available: $15,000.
  • Student Division: Student entrepreneurs and teams at the graduate, undergraduate, junior college, or high school level. Total prize money available: $15,000.

Businesses interested in entering Startup Challenge Monterey Bay have until midnight on March 11 to apply online.

Other related BenitoLink articles:

Startup Challenge Monterey Bay seeking applicants


Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.