Round 1 happens Wednesday night in the sixth annual San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge, a chance for people to pitch startup business ideas.
The contest, with prizes totaling $20,000 in cash and professional services, is open to people who live or work in Stanislaus and seven nearby counties.
The organizers have chosen applicants to take part in the first round, which involves two-minute presentations to an expert panel and audience voters.
Eight people will move on to the second round April 8, where they will make five-minute presentations. Four finalists will take part that night in a “simulated challenging business situation” and answer judges’ questions.
The contest is sponsored by the San Joaquin Angels investor group with help from several businesses and economic development organizations.
They include the Stanislaus Business Alliance, which last year held its first contest for startups in the county, won by Elias Ruiz of Hughson with his lightweight raft. He and runner-up Luke Rocha of Modesto, maker of a form-fitting holster for airsoft and real guns, automatically were entered in the eight-county challenge.
Stanislaus County has produced four of the five winners at the Stockton event:
▪ Amalia’s Cocina of Denair in 2011 with a line of natural Mexican sauces
▪ John Paoluccio of Modesto in 2012 with an odor-controlling device for sewer manholes
▪ Rich Ison in 2013 with security doors made in Riverbank
▪ Mark Coons of Modesto last year with a gun vault concealed behind artwork
AT A GLANCE
What: San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge
Who: People with business ideas in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Mariposa, Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador and Alpine counties
Prizes: The winner will receive $7,000 in cash and $7,000 worth of business services, such as accounting, legal advice and marketing. The runner-up will get $3,000 in cash and $3,000 in services.
Round 1: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Stockton Golf & Country Club, 3800 Country Club Blvd.
Round 2 and finals: 5 to 8:30 p.m. April 8 at the club.
Spectators: Tickets for each round are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Attire is business casual; no denim.
More information: www.sjchallenge.com