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SCORE business model competition announces 2017 semifinalists

Judges from nonprofit business mentoring group Richmond SCORE narrowed the field from 22 entrants in this year’s program.

Trevor Dickerson



Local business mentoring organization Richmond SCORE this week announced the six Semi-Finalists in its popular SCOREcard Business Model Competition, a business incubation program that helps entrepreneurs test whether their ideas can scale and receive targeted support from a variety of area mentors.

The selected entrepreneurs have been selected by a panel of judges, comprised of well-known small business experts from the Richmond area. The six finalists were selected from a group of 22 original contestants, who submitted their applications based on a performance analysis called the Business Model Canvas–a tool used by Richmond SCORE and many leading entrepreneurial organizations and academic institutions–to evaluate the potential success of a start-up enterprise.

“All competition entrants have been working with a Mentor from Richmond SCORE and will be given the opportunity to continue working with these Mentors as they pursue their business ideas,” said Art Mattox, a SCORE Mentor and spokesman for the competition. “Many of the contestants this year have pointed out that having a Mentor was extremely valuable. Underscoring this, many of last year’s contestants still work with their mentor, including all three winners from last year’s competition.”

The six selected businesses:

Food Not Flowers

Owner: Brandon Bruce

Concept: Chef inspired meals for family and friends when they need them for life events (e.g. maternity, bereavement)

Gimmee Shelter

Owner: Bill Martin

Concept: Patented corrugated plastic enclosure for post disaster housing and global housing of the homeless

Le Bleu Central Virginia

Owners: Christine Probst & Tom Garnett

Concept: Ultra-pure bottled water for companies and homeowners

Lifelong Home

Owner: Matt Woolman

Concept: Provides non-medical services for 65+ adults to remain in their home

LMP Food Group, LLC

Owner: Ames Russell

Concept: Producer and distributor of artisan foods; i.e., Ames’ Hot Southern Honey

The Dog Wagon Carry Out

Owner: Robert Stout

Concept: Hot Dog carry out restaurant

On April 26th, these six entrepreneurs will develop and present a 10 minute pitch describing their business’s opportunities to these same judges at the Richmond Times–Dispatch’s offices in Downtown Richmond. Following the presentations, three finalists will be selected to compete for the grand prize on May 17th. At the final presentation event, the three finalists will each be awarded cash prizes, based on the judges’ determination of the best models.

The first-place winner will be awarded $5,000; second place $2,500; and third place $1,500.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.