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Bellefonte ‘SpringBoard’ plans ‘Start Up Challenge’

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS Bellefonte SpringBoard has been in business for nearly three years in downtown Bellefonte.

By CHRIS MORELLI

cmorelli@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE — Bellefonte SpringBoard has been one of Centre County’s success stories.

SpringBoard is a business incubator and coworking space located in the borough. At Tuesday’s Centre County commissioners’ meeting, it was announced that SpringBoard is having its Second annual SpringBoard Start Up Challenge. Ellen Matis, SpringBoard’s manager, talked about the challenge and the overall general success of SpringBoard.

“Small business owners start because they’re an expert at something, but then it’s a matter of how do they get the word out,” said Matis, who operates her own business, Hello Social Co. “The SpringBoard Start Up Challenge gives new entrepreneurs and even inspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to win some funds that will help them market their business.”

Here’s how the contest will work: SpringBoard will be giving away two prizes to two entrepreneurs who present the most compelling or achievable marketing plan. That will be be determined by a panel of judges who work in the marketing industry. The first prize will be $3,000 to execute the marketing plan and a six-month SpringBoard, full-desk membership. The second prize will be $2,000 to execute the marketing plan and a six-month SpringBoard coworking membership. In addition, both winners will receive coaching from representatives from Bellefonte-based agencies, Hello Social Co., and 3twenty9 Design and prizes from local businesses.

“(Winners) can use those funds in a variety of marketing ways,” Matis noted.

Matis said that one of last year’s winners — Hoop Stars — used the prize money to develop a website for the business.

Entering the challenge is relatively easy. Simply submit either a Dropbox or Google Drive link to Matis that includes a summary of a business plan, a marketing plan, creative materials, a bio and photo.

“We really want people to think outside the box for those marketing funds. It’s not as simple as, ‘I want to place an ad on social media for six months for $2,000.’ We want it to be a comprehensive marketing plan that uses the funds in a variety of ways,” Matis said. “We want to get an idea of what the marketing plans will actually look like.”

Entries are due by 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 22. Winners will be announced on Monday, Dec. 2 and memberships at SpringBoard will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 1.

The Start Up Challenge is open to aspiring entrepreneurs, solopreneurs or business owners who have been in business for under three years. They must be local to Centre County communities and current SpringBoard members are welcome to apply. The first-year winners were Hoops Stars, which features camps and clinics for aspiring basketball players and Able Racers, which features “adapted toys” for those who are disabled.

For more information or to enter, visit www.bellefontespringboard.com.

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