Business plan competition entries open

More than $50,000 in cash and services is being offered in the fourth Monterey Bay Regional Business Plan Competition, set for May 3.

All start-ups that can show how they will create jobs in the tri-county area are eligible. Contestants must submit a one-page application by March 18.

To help with the application process, a free 90-minute introductory workshop will be offered seven times. The workshops are scheduled for:

• 6 p.m., Feb. 11, Sam Karas Room in the Monterey Peninsula College library

• Noon, Feb.12, Cruzioworks, 877 Cedar St., Santa Cruz

• 4 p.m., Feb. 13, Salinas Chamber of Commerce, 119 E. Alisal St.

• Noon, Feb. 19, San Benito County Chamber of Commerce, 243 Sixth Street, Suite 100, Hollister

• 6 p.m., Feb. 21, Sam Karas Room in the Monterey Peninsula College library

• 3 p.m., Feb. 23, McGowan Room 320, Monterey Institute of International Studies

• 4 p.m., March 5, Marina Technology Cluster

A $1,000 cash award will be given to the winning student team, $5,000 cash for the winning main street company (a local or regional business) and $50,000 in cash and professional services for the winning venture-play company.

The first round of presentations – applicants have five minutes to present their business idea and answer questions from a panel of judges – will be held at CSU Monterey Bay on March 29. Semifinalists will be chosen to move on to the final competition May 3 at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Finalists will present their ideas and business plans to a panel of investors, successful entrepreneurs, regional CEOs and venture capitalists.

More information is available at Monterey Regional Business Plan Competition.