Startup Hartsville Competition
Congratulations to this year’s semi-finalists!
Upcoming Important Dates
- Detailed Business plans are due February 27th
- Finalists will be announced on March 13th
- Finalists will present to judges on or about April 4th
- Announcement of Winners and Final Pitch Presentation Ceremony on April 10th at Black Creek Arts
- Deadline for opening the business is August 1st
The Startup Hartsville competition offers funds and other incentives to help local entrepreneurs establish their own businesses in downtown Hartsville.
Businesses eligible for the competition include ideas for new startups, franchises, relocations of existing businesses from other communities, as well as established Hartsville businesses looking to significantly expand into additional business concepts.
The competition has been run for two years in a row and we are excited to begin year 3 of the Competition, beginning October 17th of 2016.
Startup Hartsville Competition 2016-2017
The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Foundation’s Startsville Center for Innovation, in partnership with the City of Hartville, is offering an incentive package of $12,000 to each of two winning entrepreneurs who will open a business in downtown Hartsville no later than August 1, 2017.
StartUp Hartsville is an entrepreneurial startup competition that takes place over a 10-month period for the purpose of generating additional business occupancy in downtown Hartsville. At the same time, the competition provides regional entrepreneurs a means to advance their desire to expand or open a new business. Business concepts eligible for the competition include:
- New start-up businesses
- An expansion or relocation of an existing business from another community
- A significant expansion of an existing local business that would branch into an additional business concept
- Innovatively recruit new businesses that will enhance the entrepreneurial mix in downtown Hartsville.
- Highlight available downtown properties and increase downtown occupancy.
- Provide entrepreneurial businesses with financial assistance to launch their concepts.
- Create positive buzz about downtown Hartsville, SC.
- Create new leases in downtown Hartsville.
- Generate ideas, leads, and other information to aid our efforts of supporting job creation and revenue growth.
- The Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics Foundation (GSSM-F) will award up to two cash incentives, each totaling $12,000. These awards represent a potentially forgivable loan, based on the recipient’s compliance with certain criteria. If contingencies are met, the loan can be forgiven.
- Additional in-kind professional services will also be provided by local businesses which could include, but are not limited to, accounting, architecture, payroll, telephone/internet, website design, signage, office supplies, and advertising.
- Each winner is obligated to execute a minimum three-year lease for a street level retail/service/office location in downtown Hartsville, to open to the general public no later than August 1, 2017, and to operate during all normal/customary business hours for the term of the lease.
- The contest is open to all legal U.S. residents, 18 years or older at the time of submission of a contest entry application.
- Proposed business can be independent or franchise.
- If the applicant is a current downtown business owner, application must be with the intent to introduce, open and operate a concept which will offer a new element not currently promoted in the existing location, or expand upon and highlight an element that would be removed from the existing location.
- The applicant must be willing, and demonstrate the financial ability, to commit to a year-long lease in downtown Hartsville, in one of several properties pre-qualified and selected for this competition.
Official Rules and Regulations
- Prizes are not transferable and may not be redeemed for cash.
- Prizewinners may not request substitutions.
- Printed business concept proposals submitted for consideration to the contest Selection Committee may not be returned.
- The Selection Committee will judge all business concept plans, business plans, and other supporting documents submitted by any/all applicants. Decisions, judgments, and selections of the committee are at the discretion of the committee and are final.
- By participating in the contest, each applicant agrees to these Official Rules and to all decisions of the Selection Committee which are final and binding.
- The GSSM Foundation, in partnership with the City of Hartsville, reserve the right to use all participants’ names, likenesses, pictures, portraits, voice, biographical information, written submissions, and written or oral statements, for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation to participants unless required by law.
- By submitting an application for and entering the contest each applicant advancing past the initial phase of the program authorizes GSSM-F and/or the City of Hartsville to conduct a credit check and background/reference check.
- The GSSM-F seeks to consider support to any viable business entering the competition whether or not that business wins StartUp Hartsville. All entrants with feasible business plans can be contacted with information about available retail property in downtown Hartsville.
Application and Selection Process
- Fill out and submit the StartUp Hartsville Application Form that includes the narrative describing your business concept and why it would enhance and contribute to the economic welfare of Hartsville.
- Application must be received no later than the end of the business day on December 16, 2016. Applications and attachments received past that deadline will not be considered.
- The Selection Committee can choose up to 12 applicants as semi-finalists for additional consideration. All other applicants will be informed of their removal from the competition.
- The semi-finalists can obtain business plan writing assistance from independent third parties, the Florence Area Small Business Development Center, and SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives), both partners of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Startsville Center for Innovation.
- The semi-finalists must submit business plans and supporting documents to the Director of the Innovation Center no later than the end of the business day on February 27, 2017. Necessary documents and attachments received past that deadline will not be considered for continuation in the competition.
- The Selection Committee can choose up to six applicants as finalists for additional consideration.
- Finalists will appear before the Selection Committee at a date to be determined to present their respective business concepts and plans, to demonstrate via product or electronic media how the business might be featured, displayed, marketed, etc. During this appearance, the finalists must be prepared to answer questions from the panelists and to demonstrate product and business acumen, as well as discuss financial planning for the purpose of sustaining a minimum three-year lease commitment.
- Before the above demonstrations/interviews, StartUp Hartsville will conduct credit and reference checks on prospective winners. Upon concurrence of credentials, validity of concept, and applicability of the business to downtown Hartsville, up to two finalists may be selected to be Grand Prize Winners (GPW).
- In the event a GPW cannot be reached for notification following a period of 15 calendar days, that GPW will be eliminated from the program. An alternate may be selected to fulfill the role of a GPW. Each GPW must then negotiate with the selected property owners to choose a location and construct a working lease agreement no later than May 31, 2017. The property owner will convey access of the premises to the tenant no later than June 27, 2017, in order for the respective business to be able to open to the general public no later than August 1, 2017. If the GPW does not achieve a grand opening on or before October 31, 2017, the incentive package can be forfeited.
- By accepting the Grand Prize incentive package, each winner releases and discharges the GSSM Foundation, participating sponsors, information providers, content providers, advertisers, advertising agencies, promotional and marketing agencies, and any other legal entity involved with or otherwise providing services related to this competition and all their respective employees, officers, directors, representatives and agents from any liability or damage due in whole or in part to the award, acceptance, possession, use or misuse of the Grand Prize or from participation in this competition.
- Information regarding the GPWs will be posted on Startsville.com and will be released to the public through media alerts and other written and oral venues.
- In accordance with IRS Code regarding prizes and awards, a Form 1099-MISC might be issued by the GSSM Foundation to the GPWs. Each Grand Prize recipient should consult with his/her tax advisor for additional information.
Official Application (updated Oct 17th)
Follow this link to access the official application. All applications must be submitted at that link no later than 5pm on December 16th to be considered. All inquiries can be directed to Director@startsville.com