The Veterans Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship (VIBE) is accepting submissions for this year’s Business Plan Competition. The annual competition is meant to spur economic growth in the South Sound while creating a culture of entrepreneurship in the region. “We had such a tremendous response last year and we’re really hoping to continue on that success,” said VIBE Director Thomas Kuljam.
The inaugural event, in 2017, included fifteen teams with ideas ranging from virtual reality to cookies. The Olympia-based Tard Hard Cider ended up winning. Tacoma Dough, a raw cookie dough company, came in second. Dough is the creation of UW Tacoma alumna Lydia Mautz, ’17. In a statement on the company’s website Mautz said, “UWT has blessed me in so many ways; however I never imagined that I would graduate as a business owner and CEO of my own company!”
The deadline to enter this year’s competition is Friday, April 13. The rules are the same from last year. Teams must have at least one full-time or part-time college student from an accredited institution in Washington State as well as one veteran or active duty member. “We want to help service members but we also think there’s value in bringing together a group of people with different life experiences,” said Kuljam.
The competition includes an investment round where participants get an opportunity to pitch their idea to judges. “This is a great practice,” said Kuljam. “It’s a tradeshow format so you have to hone your message and figure out a way to get your idea noticed.”
The investment round is Wednesday May 9. The final round is scheduled for Wednesday, May 23. The top five teams from the investment round will be invited to participate in the finals.
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org