232 Nevada Companies and 500 Nevada Entrepreneurs Set to Compete for $100k in Project Vesto

We previously wrote about the $100k Nevada business canvas competition that was happening in Nevada called Project Vesto. The competition is funded by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and supported by NIREC.

Well, the deadline has passed for companies to submit their business model canvas and based on the number of submissions, there is a lot of entrepreneurship happening in Nevada. Over 232 companies completed applications.

Of course, the challenge for Project Vesto is that with such a large response they’ve had to modify the dates for the judging. All 232 companies are suppose to get a chance to pitch to the judges. Then, the judges will select 10 companies which will be put up for online voting.

We’ll keep you updated with what’s happening with Project Vesto as it progresses. Also, the full press release is pasted below for those who want to learn more.

Project Vesto, a Nevada business competition that offers a $100,000 prize for the best Nevada business idea, received 232 complete applications by their December 31, 2012 deadline. As entrants are required to work in at least teams of two, Project Vesto has nearly 500 entrepreneurs now involved in the hunt for its top prize.

Both the number of applicants and the diverse range of business proposals have surprised Project Vesto organizers. Project Vesto applications ranged from biofuel companies and biotechnology cancer cell testing laboratories to dance studios, restaurants and web companies.

The next round of the business competition will feature in-person pitching from applicants to a team of judges. Judges will pick a group of finalists from the pitching sessions, and all finalists will be featured in a nearly one-month online voting competition that will determine the winner.

The volume of applicants has forced Project Vesto to push back the dates of the judging and the online voting, but organizers expect online voting on Project Vesto finalists to begin by March, and a winner to be chosen by April.

Daniel Herr, project manager of Project Vesto, said he believes the business competition’s popularity comes from its simplicity. Instead of writing a lengthy business plan, which often has little real world value, applicants submitted a one-page Business Model Canvas that summarizes the most important aspects of their business idea. The in-person, five-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges that will determine the finalists also mimics the real world small business skill of investor pitching. Finally, the online voting system not only shows that an entrepreneur has a good idea, but proves that he or she can market it to the general public, said Herr.

“Project Vesto is showing Nevada entrepreneurs that there are other tools out there besides the typical 30-page business plan,” said Herr.

While only one Project Vesto applicant will win the $100,000 prize to open his or her dream business in Nevada, Herr said all applicants and all finalists will receive some very valuable skills and networking opportunities throughout the process. All applicants will leave the competition with a defined business strategy, and will be able to pitch to a panel of judges, many of whom are venture capital or private equity investors.

“These are real people with real money who could actually invest in their business,” said Herr.

Project Vesto is funded by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The project is supported by the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization. For more information, and for updates on the Project Vesto voting process, visit:http://ves.to/