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Two area SBDCs oversee business plan competition, award cash prizes and consulting services

Poised for Growth Awards

Poised for Growth Business Plan Competition award winners Geneva and Rena Pedersen of Treasure Breads, Rebecca Gengler of More Polish Pottery and Laurie Petrick of Eagle Engraving

The Illinois Small Business Development Centers (IL SBDC) at Elgin Community College and Waubonsee Community College named three businesses winners in its second annual Poised for Growth Business Plan Competition.

First place went to Geneva and Rena Pedersen of Treasure Breads in Yorkville. Their company was awarded a $10,000 cash prize and a consulting engagement valued at $5,000. Second place and a $2,500 cash prize went to Rebecca Gengler of More Polish Pottery in Big Rock. Third place and a $1,500 cash prize went to Laurie Petrick of Eagle Engraving in St. Charles. All prize money was provided through donations from local organizations. 

The remaining finalists were: Dawn Phillips of Early Light Café in Geneva, Shari Ralish of Peaceful Parlour in Geneva, Toni Greathouse of Custom Community Creations in Bolingbrook, Shay and Elizabeth Rodriguez of The Gypsy Haven in Elgin, and Chris Molloy of Harmoney Deicing Products in St. Charles.

To participate in the contest, a business had to be headquartered in Illinois, be at least three years old, be classified as “for profit” and a “small business.“ Thirty-five applications were received by the March 31 application deadline. Business Plans had to be submitted by May 6.

The competition consisted of three phases. Phase one confirmed applicant eligibility. All who qualified progressed to phase two-where owners submitted a written plan detailing their tactics for the future growth of their business over the next three years. In the final phase, the top eight contestants were required to “pitch” their growth plans to a panel of three judges on June 21. The scores from phases two and three were added together to determine a final score for each of the contestants.

The competition and prizes were sponsored by the following local businesses: First National Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Rubino Engineering, JD Main Ltd, The UPS Store in Algonquin, Kimmers Ice Cream, Old Second Bank, JJR Marketing and Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center.

ECC is committed to supporting the Small Business Development Center through Dec. 31 and further, depending on state funding. For more information, visit or call the IL SBDC at ECC at 847-214-7488. 


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