Small Business Plan Contest

The Community and Business Development Department is highly devoted to promoting the growth of business enterprises in the Winston-Salem area. Numerous entrepreneurs approach the department weekly for assistance in writing business plans and starting businesses. In an effort to reach more individuals, the department will host its second annual Small Business Plan Contest. The goal of the contest is to provide seed money to help more entrepreneurs get their business ideas to fruition. 

The winner of the contest will win:

  • $5,000 grant for startup costs
  • $5,000 potential matching micro-loan
  • Free Change of Use Review (valued at $250) by the Inspections Division to evaluate what changes are needed to bring a proposed business location into building code compliance
  • Opportunity to apply to Small Business Loan Program

As a benefit to those entering the contest, department staff will provide technical assistance and feedback to participants. In addition, participants of the ten-week Section 3/MWBE Business Training Program [pdf] that ended in December are greatly encouraged to participate. This program teaches about various aspects of starting and owning a business including market analysis and marketing, accounting, insurance and legal concerns, finding money and writing a business plan.

To be eligible for the contest, submissions must be for micro-businesses (5 employees or fewer) and must be potentially 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. The NRSA includes portions of the northern, eastern and southern quadrants of the city. Lastly, the proposed business must create low- to modern-income jobs and/or provide benefit to the low-to moderate-income community.

Timeline for the competition

  • Monday, January 13- informational meeting at 6:00 p.m. in the 5th floor meeting room of the Bryce Stuart Municipal Building.
  • February 3 - brief business proposals are due. The Development Division /will review the submittals and select the top finalists that will go to the final round
  • April 14 - complete business plans are due from finalists for evaluation by the Small Business Loan Review Committee
  • June - a winner of the competition will be announced

If you are interested in joining or learning more about the Small Business Loan Contest, please contact Ken Millett, Business Development Senior Project Supervisor, at (336) 747-7472 or  

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