A who’s who of Loudoun County’s best entrepreneurs came together Nov. 14 for the fourth annual Business Plan Competition Awards at K2M headquarters in Leesburg.
Hosted by the Loudoun Small Business Development Center and K2M CEO Eric Major, the Business Plan Competition requires aspiring small business owners the opportunity to receive valuable and critical feedback from successful already established business owners.
There are two categories for contestants to enter: local business and scalable business. Two awards were given out in each category.
Each submitted business plan must contain financial statements, marketing plans and analysis and products or services offered.
Winning first place in the local category was Georges Mill Farm Artisan Cheese, LLC owned by Sam and Molly Kroiz and first place in scalable cheese was won by Rudy Hassall from Trailhead Gear and Archery.
Hassall’s Trailhead Gear and Archery is planned to serve its customers by renting equipment for camping, hiking, hunting and other outdoor activities.
The Kroiz’s live on Sam’s family’s farm in Lovettsville. The farm has been in Sam’s family for eight generations and is home to their small family business.
Winning second place in the local category was Layered Cake Patisserie and Bakery owned by Barbara Chavez and Anthony Chavez. Second place in the scalable category was awarded to Matthew Burns and Frank Burns, owners of High Angle Associates.
High Angle Associates in Sterling is a technical rescue equipment supplier and Layered Cake Patisserie will specialize in cakes and pastries.
As the primary sponsor for the event, Eric Major, CEO of K2M, explained why this particular event is so meaningful to him.
“Tonight is really a wonderful evening. It is a night of celebration and a night for all of us to come together to recognize a group of people, entrepreneurs,” Major said. “It is a group of people willing to take a vision to take a dream and execute on that. This night is to celebrate people willing to in the face of adversity do something that is unbelievably hard to do.
“Our success here at K2M and the success of the Loudoun SBDC has been because of the people,” Major said.
Robin Suomi, executive director of the Loudoun Small Business Development Center, noted that several of the contestants were building important relationships for their businesses. At Suomi’s table, the Kroiz’s were discussing cheeses with a client who could turn out to be a potential client. Several wineries were also in attendance as a potential client for the Kroizs.
Even Burns got into the act, saying during his acceptance speech he would be speaking with Hassall about purchasing climbing ropes and gear.
Suomi pointed to these conversations as what makes this event so special for small business success.
“It’s all about networking and building relationships for these business owners,” Suomi said.
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