HOW IT ALL BEGAN
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
It all started with the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce in the winter of 2012. Jason Stambaugh, Founder & CEO of Startup Local, had just joined the chamber and volunteered to sit on the newly formed Young Professional Networking Committee. During those initial committee meetings, most conversations revolved around how to engage the next generation of employees and small business owners. Truth be told, the chamber wasn’t doing much to excite the under 40 crowd.
Around this same time, business partner and investor Hugh Norwood, President of Trinity Education Group (TEG), was asked to serve as emcee of LaunchEdu. This high profile Ed Tech business startup competition is held in conjunction with the famed SXSW Interactive. Upon returning from the event, Hugh, was electrified by the experience.
In a meeting after the event, Hugh shared his experience with Jason and a light bulb came on. Jason thought, “Why aren’t incredible opportunities like this offered in my community?” TEG’s technology expertise and dedication life-long learning, combined with Jason’s passion for local business and understanding of the local startup competition space, made for the perfect match. Shortly thereafter in April of 2012, Jason pitched the idea to Carroll County Chamber of Commerce President, Mike McMullin. Mike loved the idea and formally partnered with Startup Local (formerly known as Hometown Startups) to make it happen.
The “Carroll Biz Challenge” was born. The competition featured entries from local entrepreneurs in a wide variety of industries. Among the entries were Anvil Mountain Firearms (a woman-owned gunsmithing business), The French Twist Café (a main street café for succulent crepes and premium coffee), and eNotebook (an iPad note taking app for students). It was a tough competition, but the winner wasn’t one you’ll read about in the national news. Sean Schmidt from Holistic Home Energy Services won the $5,000 cash prize. Sean’s business will likely never be a big business that will make millions, but it is a solid business, representative of the thousands of small businesses our communities depend on.
The competition jumpstarted what has become an annual tradition of celebrating, showcasing, and supporting local entrepreneurs. It is a centerpiece of the community’s efforts to help entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true.
The Startup Local platform and service is built on this proven competition model. Through Startup Local, many more communities will now be able to deliver an unforgettable experience, year after year, to entrepreneurs in their community.
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