PROVIDENCE — (March 5, 2018) — The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, the largest community supported business plan competition in New England, today announced it will award prizes valued at $265,000 when winners are named in May.

Nine veteran business builders were also named as judges in the 2018 competition.

The announcement was made in advance of the April 2 deadline to apply to the competition.

The prizes, consisting of cash and in-kind services, are provided by 58 sponsors, including banks, investors, colleges, universities, professional service firms, nonprofits, and construction, health-related, software, retail, and other businesses, as well as five former competitors.

In a joint statement, co-chairs Anthony Mangiarelli, partner at the KLR accounting firm, and Peggy Farrell, partner in the Hinckley Allen law firm, said, “This year marks the fifteenth time we will award prizes, which demonstrates an admirable ongoing commitment on the part of established Rhode Island businesses and other organizations to invest in emerging entrepreneurs.”

Serving as volunteer judges this year are the following:

  • Kim Anderson, an impact investor and socially responsible entrepreneur
  • Peggy Farrell, partner, Hinckley Allen
  • Katharine Flynn, executive director, University of Rhode Island Business Engagement Center
  • Carol Malysz, executive director of MedMates
  • Anthony Mangiarelli, partner at KLR
  • Lou Mazzucchelli, investor and coordinator of Entrepreneurship Programs, Bryant University
  • Thorne Sparkman, managing director of the Slater Technology Fund
  • Brian Spero, president & CEO of The Beacon Mutual Insurance Company
  • Jeffrey Wilhelm, chief technology officer at Envision Technology Advisors

The competition is open to anyone with an innovative business plan. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age and agree to use winnings to establish or expand a business in Rhode Island.

Currently, 50 former competitors are operating businesses that are selling locally, nationally, and internationally, employing hundreds of people, and buying services and supplies from scores of Rhode Island companies.

Complete competition information, including rules, application procedures, guidelines, and business plan resources, is available at www.ri-bizplan.com.

Sponsors of the 2018 Competition

Lead sponsors of the 2018 competition are Bryant University, Cox Business, Everhope Foundation, Hinckley Allen, Integrated Media Group, KLR, Locke Lord, Materials Science Associates (former competitor), MedMates, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, and Sprout.

Also sponsoring the 2018 competition are Bank of America, Barlow, Josephs & Holmes, Ltd., Betaspring, Brown University Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Center for Women and Enterprise, Cumulus Media, Envision Technology Advisors, FM Global, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, Luminous, Roger Williams University, Social Enterprise Greenhouse (former competitor), Tech Collective, and the URI College of Business Administration.

Sponsors also include AAA Northeast, Bank Rhode Island, The Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, Business Development Company, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Dimeo Construction Company, The Hilb Group of New England, The Idea Turbine, IGT Global Solutions Corporation, The Moore Company, Navigant Credit Union, RI Student Loan Authority (Bridge.jobs), Richard Carriere, Savings Institute Bank and Trust, Slater Technology Fund, Teknor Apex, and The Washington Trust Company.

Additional sponsors include BankNewport, Cherrystone Angel Group, Citizens Bank, Classic Hassocks, CVS Health, Deepwater Wind, Fidelity Investments, Hayes & Sherry Real Estate Services, InsureMyTrip, Johnson & Wales University, Newport Biodiesel (former competitor), Pawtucket Credit Union, StormTree (former competitor), and Virgin Pulse (former competitor).

About the Competition

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition has been recognized as one of the top 40 business plan competitions in the country. To date, it has awarded prizes valued at more than $2.3 million to developing companies across many industries.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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