1492 business launch competition starting up again soon

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Entrepreneurs, mark your calendars. The 1492 business launch competition is setting sail for a second voyage.

Held for the first time two years ago, 1492 is designed to find and nurture viable business concepts. The competition will come on the heels of the next Columbus Startup Weekend, which kicks off Oct. 7.

1492’s organizers are hoping Startup Weekend participants will build on the momentum they’ve created and submit  a business plan for consideration, though anyone, even those outside the Buckeye State, is welcome to apply.

The goal of the competition is to not only help create sustainable businesses that will remain in Columbus, but to also draw entrepreneurs to Ohio, says Will Indest, vice president of venture development for TechColumbus.

Based on a written business plan, ten finalists will be selected to make formal pitches before the 1492 panel of judges, which will feature several successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, he says.

From those finalists, five will be chosen to receive funding (up to $20,000 per startup), along with business coaching to help get their startups off the ground. Staff from all three of the organizations behind the competition −TechColumbus, the Columbus College of Art & Design, and Columbus State Community College− will meet with the entrepreneurs on a weekly basis through January.

TechColumbus is excited to partner with CCAD and CSCC because of the creativity and diverse student population they bring to the table, respectively, Indest says. (Support will also come from the Ohio Third Frontier.)

One of the success stories to come out of the inaugural 1492 competition is Dublin-based MobileXpeditions, which helps venues and brands extend their marketing campaigns to mobile phones and tablets, and now boasts local and national clients.

The deadline for 1492 submissions is Oct. 12. Participants will be chosen soon after.

Several details are still under development, but to be added to an email list that will receive updates as details are finalized, contact Greg Pugh, director of IT commercialization for TechColumbus, at gpugh@techcolumbus.org.

Photo by Adam Slane Photography.