Business Plan Competition Receives Enthusiastic Response

PSNH Steps up as Prize Sponsor; Applications Still Being Accepted

The Manchester Young Professionals Network and Southern New Hampshire University will present entrepreneurial boot camp and competition in January 2009

Manchester – The New Hampshire Start-Up Challenge, the collaborative business plan competition and entrepreneurial program The Manchester Young Professionals Network (MYPN) has kicked off with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), has received an enthusiastic response from both perspective participants and sponsors.


Just over 40 individuals have applied to the competition and Entrepreneurial Institute thus far, while Public Service of New Hampshire has signed on as a premier sponsor.


Anyone across the state may apply to participate in the New Hampshire Start-Up Challenge, which is designed to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders, by registering online at by November 10, 2008. Executive Summaries from those applying for admission to the program are due on November 17, 2008. Twenty 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.


“We’re thrilled with the response we’ve received thus far,” said Joe Kenney, MYPN’s chair of the NH Start-Up Challenge and vice president of commercial lending at Ocean Bank. “Our advisory board will review applications through a blind judging process in December and determine the roster of participants. In the meantime, I can say that what we’ve seen so far is impressive. We have a large group of inventive and inspiring people who want to become entrepreneurs.”


Meanwhile, Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), has signed on as a Prize Sponsor, donating $12,500 to the program. The sponsorship will help fund the two $25,000 cash prizes awarded to two winners.


“One of PSNH’s top-tier priorities is economic development,” said Pat McDermott, Economic and Community Development Manager for the public utility. “The New Hampshire Start-Up Challenge falls right in line with that priority as it encourages the creation of new business and new jobs, while incorporating an educational and empowerment component designed to propel entrepreneurs in our area. We are proud to invest in the program and in our future business owners and leaders.”



The two business plan competition 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.


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.


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.