A Nevada business competition with a $100,000 prize moves into its next phase in the next six weeks, and contest organizers say they received more applications than they expected.
Project Vesto, funded by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and supported by the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization, is a contest designed to attract new technology companies to the state.
Officials announced the contest in October at a showcase event for entrepreneurs and set a Dec. 31 deadline for applications. Organizers received 232 applications with proposals ranging from biofuel companies and biotechnology cancer cell testing laboratories to dance studios, restaurants and web companies.
Applicants will next get five minutes to pitch their proposals to a panel of judges that will whittle the list of finalists to 10. Those 10 proposals will be presented on a website and the winner will be chosen through an online vote that is expected begin in March and run all month.
Project Vesto’s tagline is, “$100,000 cash. Your business idea. A room of investors. 5 minutes. One chance to prove you have what it takes.”
The winning entrant is required to become based in Nevada and hold a Nevada business license prior to receiving the award.
The volume of applications forced organizers to push back the selection process.
“Project Vesto is showing Nevada entrepreneurs that there are other tools out there besides the typical 30-page business plan,” said Daniel Herr, project manager of Project Vesto.
He said that while only one applicant would win the $100,000 prize, the process would give entrepreneurs the experience of pitching their proposals in a real-world environment and network with potential investors.
“These are real people with real money who could actually invest in their business,” Herr said.