Helping Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs Succeed in Odessa

Posted on January 22, 2018

Odessa Business Challenge LogoThe Odessa Business Challenge, which was funded by the Odessa Development Corporation, is a competition program overseen by America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. The program was designed to assist entrepreneurs in expanding an existing business or starting a new one in the Odessa area.

To be considered eligible each contestant was required to pay an application fee of $150 and participate in a mandatory orientation workshop. Entrepreneur and business owner applicants left the workshop with a better understanding of the requirements of the competition. After this workshop, applications were submitted with a deadline in early November 2017.

All qualified entrants then had access to one-on-one business coaching, expertise and other pertinent resources offered by the SBDC. Applicants utilized these resources and discussed strategy, received assistance with building financials and finalized business plans.

Next, applicants were required to submit a one-page fact sheet with investor information. The fact sheets were due in late November 2017 and free workshops were held for all applicants to assist them in creating this document. Odessa Business

Challenge judges used these fact sheets to determine the top 10 contenders to be considered semi-finalists.

If selected as a semi-finalist, applicants were required to submit a word document of their business plan, containing no more than 15 pages of narrative and financials and no more than 10 pages of appendices. Another free workshop was held to assist businesses in drafting these plans. The submission deadline for these business plans was January 18, 2018.

The Odessa Business Challenge judges read and scored applicant fact sheets to determine who would move on to the next round. In the final round the judges will read, score and choose which business plans move on to presentation day. If an applicant’s business plan is selected by the judges, they will be required to present their plan to the challenge judges for a chance at winning the competition. Another free seminar will be held in February that will present tips to applicants on how to ‘pitch’ their business to judges in early March.

Once they have heard each finalist present their business idea, judges will determine which applicants will win a share of $350,000 in grants from the Odessa Development Corporation. The judges will finalize winners March 7th, and present the winners at an awards ceremony March 19th.

So far, every participant in the Odessa Business challenge has gained a better grasp of how to develop and follow a realistic business plan and model for a growing business. The ODC and SBDC believe a positive economic impact on our area will emanate from this challenge.

By: Wesley BurnettDirector of Economic Development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce

“I write this blog to provide businesses and site selectors from across the country with a source of current information about the benefits and resources the city of Odessa has to offer.”Wesley