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Big night for finalists

Tonight is the night for the final event in the Dixon Business Competition, when six business start-ups will vie for top prizes. Good luck to the finalists, and kudos to the contest organizers.

Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 8:27 a.m. CDT

When the first Dixon Business Competition was officially announced less than 3 months ago, we had a feeling it could lead to something special.

At 7 p.m. this evening at Loveland Community House, six finalists will talk about how special their business ideas really are.

Representatives of the six small, start-up businesses will give 2-minute "elevator pitch" presentations before a panel of judges and members of the public.

Then, the judges will evaluate the presentations, combine those scores with ratings given to individual business plans, and name first-, second- and third-place winners, who will share $10,000 in cash prizes and free commercial rent.

Mayor Jim Burke brought the idea to local business leaders last fall. The city of Dixon, Dixon Main Street, and the Dixon Chamber of Commerce joined forces to coordinate the contest, with administrative help from St. Louis-based Venture Advisors.

More than a dozen local businesses stepped up to help sponsor the contest. Some are involved in mentorship as well.

Josh Albrecht, executive director of Dixon Main Street, in announcing the event, said the competition was designed to give opportunities to budding entrepreneurs.

"We want dynamic and innovative businesses to be in Dixon, and this competition will allow those businesses to not just start up, but to thrive," he said in a news release.

Win or lose, the participating entrepreneurs likely learned a lot. About two dozen attended 3-hour Startup Success Seminars in May. They received materials necessary to evaluate their entrepreneurial ideas and write business plans.

The entire process put a spotlight on the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to the community's economy.

We salute the business groups and the city for presenting the contest and being innovators in their own right.

The finalists, by the way, are Genesis Hey Productions, Choffee House, Impact Shave, Effervesce Vapors, 319 Bistro, and Roxie's Boutique.

Albrecht praised the finalists' business plans.

"We are excited to see what their final pitches have in store for us," he said.

Those final pitches will be this evening.

To the six finalists, good luck!

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