Small Business Plan Contest

The Office of Business Inclusion and Advancement is devoted to promoting the growth of small businesses in Winston-Salem. Budding entrepreneurs approach the department weekly for assistance in writing business plans and the steps involved in starting a business.

In an effort to broaden our reach, the department will host its fifth Business Plan Contest. The informational kick-off meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. January 22 in the 5th Floor Public Meeting Room of the Bryce A Stuart Building at 100 East 1st Street in downtown Winston-Salem. You can find a PDF containing the information we went over in that meeting, including the entry requirements for the Contest, here: Informational Meeting Agenda and Submission Requirements [pdf].

Each of the two winners will receive:

Business Department staff is happy to provide technical assistance and feedback to participants at any point.

To be eligible for the contest, submissions must be for for-profit micro-businesses (5 employees or fewer) and be located within the NRSA (Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area). This area has been identified by the City of Winston-Salem as being prime for needed development and investment.

Lastly, the proposed business must create low- to moderate-income jobs and/or provide benefit to the low-to moderate-income community.

Timeline for the contest

  • Tuesday, January 22 - Informational kick-off meeting.
  • March 15 - Business Proposals due (2-page maximum)
    • Mail, e-mail, fax, or deliver to Office of Business Inclusion & Advancement.  Only typed documents accepted.
    • Include a completed Business Plan Contest Application with your submission.
    • For e-mail submissions:
      • Business Proposals must be attached to e-mail in Word or PDF form and not written in the body of the email
      • Include "Business Plan Contest" in the subject line
      • Send to
  • Submissions will be reviewed and the most viable business plans will move to the final round
    • Staff will be available for technical assistance throughout the contest
  • May 21 - Complete business plans are due from finalists for evaluation by the Small Business Loan Review Committee
  • Winner of the contest will be announced early July
    • Entrepreneurs that do not win will still receive business plan critiques and have the opportunity to apply to the Small Business Loan Program. Staff will also be happy to continue providing technical assistance.

Business Proposal Format Instructions

Limited to 2 single-spaced pages.

While a complete business plan contains detailed information on the topics below, the purpose of the Business Proposal is to capture the interest of the reader and cover the highlights of your proposed business concept.

Your Business Proposal should cover the following highlights of your concept:

  1. Business Idea - Describe your business concept clearly and concisely
  2. Competitive Advantage - Describe how your produce or service differs from the competition
  3. Team Members - Describe the job roles of key members of your business team
  4. Target Market - Describe the intended market for your product or service (demographic, geographic, etc.)
  5. Marketing Plan Outline - Describe your promotion and advertising plan
  6. Operational Plan Outline - Describe the labor and equipment requirements and how the business operates day-to-day
  7. Financial Overview - Describe your estimated project cost and start-up requirements
  8. Opportunities & Challenges - Outline the opportunities and challenges facing your business

Mail Submissions to:

"Business Plan Contest"
City of Winston-Salem
Office of Business Inclusion and Advancement
P.O. Box 2511
Winston-Salem, NC 27102

Fax: 336-747-9298

If you are interested in joining or learning more about the Business Plan Contest, please contact Steven Harrison, Small Business Development Specialist at 336-747-7474 or .

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