Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Susan Munroe leads a panel of Van Wert entrepreneurs in a discussion at the seventh annual Entrepreneurship Fair in 2015 held at the Vantage Career Center. (DHI Media file photo)
Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Susan Munroe leads a panel of Van Wert entrepreneurs in a discussion at the seventh annual Entrepreneurship Fair in 2015 held at the Vantage Career Center. (DHI Media file photo)
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VAN WERT — The eighth annual Entrepreneurship Fair will be held on the Saturday morning of Jan. 21 in the Community Room at Vantage Career Center located at 818 N. Franklin St. in Van Wert.

This free event is designed to assist anyone who has thought of starting a business to turn the dream into a reality.

Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m. with a panel of local entrepreneurs scheduled to share their journey at 8:10 a.m.





Attendees will also learn about financing options and have a chance to Ask the Experts, a panel of local professionals, on topics including law, marketing, real estate, accounting and insurance.

The event will also serve as the kickoff to the Business Plan Challenge, where individuals considering starting a business in Van Wert County can create, submit and present a business plan to a panel of judges for the chance to win up to $2,500 in business development funds and a one-year Van Wert Chamber membership.

Over the next two months, Wright State University Lake Campus Business Enterprise Center will offer a series of five classes to help walk participants through each step of developing a business plan. Judging will take place in late February with the award being presented in March.

The writing of a business plan is not only necessary to obtain private financing, it also helps to develop ideas into workable plans.

Since the first Business Plan Challenge in 2012, the process has helped entrepreneurs build a strong foundation for their business.

Previous first place winners are still in business today. Winners include Michelle Gorman of Sister See, Sister Do, Jolanda Arts owner of McCoy’s Flowers, Shelly Becker of The Embroider Coop, and Julie Hamilton of Something from the Garden.

Vicki Shulte, owner of Once I Was, recently closed her successful shop in downtown Van Wert.

Small business growth is the foundation of a strong community. Organizers include representatives from the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Van Wert, the City and County government of Van Wert, Vantage Career Center, Van Wert County Foundation and the Wright State University Lake Campus Business Enterprise Center. Each organization has donated their time and energy to keep the momentum of business growth going in Van Wert County.

If you are looking for a chance to start your own business, take advantage of this excellent opportunity on Jan. 21 from 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Vantage Career Center.

If you have immediate questions or need assistance in starting a business, please call Jennifer Rigdon at 419-513-5111.