Two divisions in this year's Ropp Triplett Business Plan Competition; $6,500 in prizes

Two divisions in this year's Ropp Triplett Business Plan Competition; $6,500 in prizes

Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs will expand its 2016 Ropp Triplett Business Plan Competition into two divisions with six total winners, according to Brendon Matthews, BCE board president. This year’s cash and in-kind prizes total $6,500.

The contest offers a Start-up and Emerging Business Division, accepting entries from Allen, Hancock, Putnam and Hardin counties. It offers a $4,000 first place, $1,000 second place and $500 third place cash award, in addition to several in-kind prizes.

New this year is a Small Business Improvement Division. It is open to established businesses from the 45817 zip area. It offers a $1,000 first place, plus in-kind prizes.

This is BCE’s sixth business plan competition and it recognizes the late Ropp Triplett, long-time Bluffton industrial leader and entrepreneur.

“The competition teaches start-up businesses how to write a business plan that will help them become an established business,” said Brendon Matthews, BCE board president. 

“Entrants in the Small Business Improvement Business Division will focus on ways to add, grow or develop enterprises, which contribute to increase in sales, traffic and jobs to their business and to Bluffton,” he added. 

The competition’s initial free session is Wednesday,  Jan. 13, 2016. It takes place, as all session, in the Bluffton town hall third floor meeting room. All sessions are from 6 to 8 p.m.

Kathy Keller, director, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Lima, instructs all sessions with class dates and themes following:

Jan. 13: “Launch Your Business Right (free session)

Thursday, Jan. 21: “So You Want to be an Entrepreneur” (fees and applications are due - please note: this is the only Thursday session. All other sessions are Wednesdays.)

Jan. 27: “Planning to Start a Business”

Feb. 3: “Developing Your Business Idea”

Feb. 10: “Testing Your Business Idea and Getting it to Market”

Feb. 17: “Accounting for Your Business”

Feb. 24: “Financing Your Business”

March 2: “Final Pitch Dress Rehearsal (business plan due)

March 9: Final pitches

To enter the competition, contestants must complete an entry form and submit a $150 application fee. The fee for college student to enter is $75. The deadline to enter the contest is Wednesday, Jan. 20.

The form is an attachment to this story, or call BCE at 419-369-2985, extension 118, or email


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