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    Loudoun small businesses plan for the future

    Dr. Miles Davis, the dean of Shenandoah University’s Business School, was the emcee for the fifth annual Loudoun Small Business Plan Gala on Nov. 12. - Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Ben Hancock
    Prospective and current small business owners gathered to find out the winners of the Small Business Plan Nov. 12 at K2M Inc. in Leesburg.

    At the Gala every group who competed announced their ideas for a business. Each of the competitors is in a varying level of completion.

    The competition is structured so that entrepreneurs can fine tune their business plans before taking them to market.

    "As a serial entrepreneur I am a fan of the entrepreneurial spirit," said Eric Major, the lead sponsor of the event and CEO at K2M Inc., a technology company hoping to make spinal operations easier on surgeons.

    Guidelines for the event state that the business must have been "in the start-up phase of a for-profit business or be a corporation with its primary place of business established in Loudoun County."

    Hours before the gala, eight finalists of the 13 total entrants gave an oral presentation of their business plan, for review. During this process they were required to create a video and present their idea to receive feedback.

    "It's a way to submit our business proposals to solidify them before we decide to start our business," said Donna Lann, who's hoping to start Milo's Bagels and Bits with her husband James at the Village at Leesburg.

    Donna Lann said she wanted to win, but the real purpose of the event is to make sure the businesses have tightened up their plans and are ready to go.

    Emcee for the night Dr. Miles Davis, the dean of Shenandoah University's Business School, said he helped to standardize the process of selection and organized the project.

    But the heavy lifting he said was done by the contestants and event organizers.

    Veena Pandiri, who finished in third place, plans to start a business where she teaches traditional Indian dance.

    She said the best advice she received was for to keep an eye on a niche market, at least at first, so she can focus on the core Indian market she will serve.

    Winners of the event won cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000.

    The winners:
    First Place
    David J. Dixon Jr. of Music Cave Studios LLC

    Second Place
    Michael Tomlin of The Hoppy Vintner, LLC

    Third Place
    Veena Pandiri Notes n' Beats LLC

    Business / Western Loudoun / Leesburg /

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