Judges listen to pitch in 2017 competition. Leslie David photo

Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is announcing upcoming workshops and the launch of the program’s application period for 2018.

Two of the three local business or “main street” winners in 2017 were from San Benito county. According to program organizers, the county showed a marked increase in applicants, representing a wide range of ages and business concepts.

The challenge provides free training and advice from experienced entrepreneurs. Applications from San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties are due by midnight, Monday, March 12 for the 2018 competition. Entrepreneurs and startup companies from the tri-county area should apply to the competition at www.thestartupchallenge.org.

Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is a business competition and accelerator program that supports the founding, funding and growth of new and innovative businesses in the Monterey Bay region.

The challenge offers workshops, feedback, and mentoring to empower entrepreneurs in a competitive process. The San Benito County winners in the 2017 competition were Credo Studio in San Juan Bautista and Ohana Shave Ice in Hollister.

The competition has three divisions:

  • Main Street Division: Local and regional businesses that are not intended to scale, but will still have an economic impact regionally.
  • Venture Division: Businesses intended to scale nationally or internationally and provide venture capital-level returns in three-five years.
  • Student Division: Student entrepreneurs and teams. Applicants under age 18 must have their parents or guardians sign the Liability Waiver Form at the Qualifying Round Pitch.

Following the March 13 application deadline, the qualifying round pitches will take place on April 7, and the final round and venture showcase will be May 12.

Last year San Benito County was well represented with four businesses making it to the final round. Competitors included Peter and Karina Hernandez of Ohana Shaved Ice, Michelle Doty’s “That Garlic Stuff,” Ramona Hill with Credo Studio in San Juan Bautista, and local Salvador Ornelas-Reynoso who presented “Workinspot” an affordable, convenient and flexible working space.

Read: 4 San Benito businesses make Startup Challenge Finals   For more information visit: http://startupmontereybay.com/startup-challenge-monterey-bay/