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‘Innovation Challenge’ Seeks Enterprising Business Ideas

Sonora, CA – Have an idea that you think might be the next best thing to sliced bread? An event coming to the Mother Lode may soon be a place to vet it and vie for start-up support.

The 2015 Tuolumne Innovation Challenge is now open to residents, students and businesses owners across the Mother Lode. Presented by the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority (TCEDA) Innovation Lab, Alliance Small Business Development Council (SBDC), and doing What Matters, organizers are encouraging potential applicants with innovative, viable product and business ideas to participate. Interested? Now through noon, Sunday, April 19, simply fill out forms available online.

According to TCEDA Director of Economic Development Larry Cope, the event is the next logical step as part of the new business incubator process begun last year with the introduction of The Innovation Lab. He says the event is all about finding and helping develop budding viable great ideas. “Whether they have an actual idea for a product, something you can feel and touch…or whether it’s an app for an iPhone or Android phone..or just an idea for ‘how do I bring people to a particular website’,” he explains. In summary of what organizers are seeking from contenders, Cope says, “This is simply a pitch about their idea and how they would make it a reality — like a local Shark Tank [the business incubator TV program] — that’s the closest thing that I’d tie it to.”

On Thursday, May 7 from 5 to 8 p.m., the six to eight applicants found through a pre- screening process to have the most interesting, compelling, and highest potential ideas will present their innovations to a judges’ panel during the challenge’s public exhibition event at the Innovation Lab (101 Hospital Road, Sonora). Among the winners’ prizes are $1,500 in cash and $2,500 in professional support for the recipients to further develop their innovations.

For more details about the challenge, and links to download applications or reserve tickets to the free May 7 public event, click here.