MYPN - Announces Business Plan Competition and Institute

New Hampshire Start-Up Challenge created in partnership with

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester – The Manchester Young Professionals Network (MYPN) has kicked off the New Hampshire Start-Up Challenge, a collaborative program with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) designed to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Anyone across the state may apply to participate in the New Hampshire Start-Up Challenge, by applying online at by November 17, 2008. From those submissions, 20 applicants will be selected to enroll in the program and SNHU’s Entrepreneurship Institute. Following a 10-week training program provided by the Institute, two winners will be chosen.

The two winners – one for a for-profit business plan, the other for a social innovation or socially responsible business plan – will each receive $25,000 and a package of in-kind start-up services, including office space, legal services and accounting services. Each winner, along with all participants, will have received business plan writing and entrepreneurship training as part of the program.

“We’re especially proud of this new program, particularly because of its focus on education, training and empowering young professionals who are interested in starting their own businesses,” said Joe Kenney, vice president of commercial lending at Ocean Bank, and MYPN board member and chair of the program. “The two winners will enjoy the benefit of the prize package, but each of the 20 participants will gain invaluable knowledge, education, training and hands-on experience as part of SNHU’s Entrepreneurial Institute.”

Participants will receive training on a variety of topics, including finance, identifying and analyzing the market, building an organization and team and planning for a profitable business. The mini-boot camp will follow the New Venture FastTrac Course by the Kauffman Foundation, the leading entrepreneurship foundation. Local business owner Bernie Sparks will facilitate the program and SNHU professor Keith Moon will serve as a coach and mentor throughout the program. Other SNHU faculty, along with notable executives and company leaders, will participate in the program sharing both theory and application of successfully starting and running a company.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Manchester Young Professionals Network on such an important and impactful initiative,” said Dr. Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University. “We are committed to education, not only in the classroom, but in practical ways that prepare students to thrive, create and succeed.”

An impressive Advisory Board has come together to guide the competition, select participants and ultimately, select the winning business plans. Their in-kind and financial support of the New Hampshire Start-Up Challenge has bolstered the stature of the competition. Advisory Board members include: Paul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University; Danny O’Brien, President, Ocean Bank; Pat McDermott, Economic & Community Development Manager, Public Service of NH; Joe McQuaid, President, Union Leader; Doug Dean, President, Elliot Hospital; Joe DiBrigida, Shareholder, Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green; Travis York, President, Griffin, York & Krause; Donna K. Lencki, Principal, Geneia; Ryan FitzSimons, CEO, Gigunda Group, Inc.; and Kate Benway, Marketing Manager, City of Manchester.

The Manchester Young Professionals Network was created in 2004 and now has over 3,000 members. Visit MYPN online at for information about the organization.