Danville, Va. – The Launch Place, an established entrepreneurial development organization headquartered in Danville, Virginia, and First Flight Venture Center, the largest technology incubator in the Research Triangle, North Carolina, have come together once again to host a contest with two awards totaling up to $20,000 for first place and up to $10,000 for second.

This year’s challenge will feature a total of two elimination rounds with the final pitch event to be held on May 19, 2015, starting at 1 p.m., at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia. Applications can be submitted by March 31st at https://thebiglaunchchallenge.startuplocal.biz/.

According to organizers, in its second year, The Big Launch Challenge is one of the foremost events for startups.

“Based on the number of inquiries, The Big Launch Challenge has become a highly anticipated event in the region,” said Eva Doss, President of The Launch Place. “Not only does the competition provide entrepreneurs with prize money, but it also serves as a platform for them to learn about The Launch Place’s entrepreneurship services and investment opportunities in Danville, Virginia.”

Doss added, “The Big Launch Challenge provides entrepreneurs with the best possible resources, including education, networking, team creation, mentorship, early-stage prototyping and potential follow-on seed financing, to help turn innovative ideas into real businesses. Our mission is to provide support for entrepreneurs and established businesses and stimulate economic growth and draw new employers to the region.”

Last year, at the first Big Launch Challenge, six contenders were selected from a submission of 31 applications. Larry Dickinson of 3F, LLC, captured first place and $15,000. 3F makes and sells high-performance yarns to companies in the $4 billion hand protection market.

“This competition promotes creative technology-related ideas and helps entrepreneurs gain both experience and exposure for taking their business ideas forward,” said Dickinson.  “For me, I am now in a position to take our product to market.”

The Big Launch Challenge is open to the following industries:  Nano technology, green technology, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, medical devices and information technology.

To be eligible to participate, companies must:

  • Have fewer than 10 employees
  • Have a physical product to develop
  • Be willing to locate a part of the operations and/or manufacturing for this business in Danville, Virginia
  • Be willing to receive mentorship and guidance from The Launch Place and First Flight Venture Center teams

“We are excited to be working again with The Launch Place on The Big Launch Challenge,” said Andy Schwab, President of First Flight Venture Center. “This event brings together talented entrepreneurs and start-ups, all in an effort to help find good ideas and build sustainable businesses.”

To register for the event and for more information, go to https://thebiglaunchchallenge.startuplocal.biz/

About The Launch Place:

The Launch Place assists with business development, and job creation and retention region-wide through its business consulting services and seed funding, while having a dual responsibility to recruit and retain entrepreneurs to the Danville, Virginia, region due to a $10 million grant award over five years by the Danville Region Foundation. As a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit organization, The Launch Place helps companies to plan, fund, launch and grow their business ventures.

About First Flight Venture Center:

Founded in 1992, First Flight Venture Center was created to foster innovation and grow sustainable companies. Today, First Flight is one of the nation’s largest and most stable incubators, playing host to more than 37 high-science, high-impact annually. In total, First Flight company startups number 267 and growing. Several of the most notable graduates include United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR), SciQuest (NASDAQ: SQI) Athenix (acquired by Bayer, NASDAQ: BAYRY), Advanced Liquid Logic (acquired by Illumina, NASDAQ: ILMN), Bloodhound Technologies (acquired by Verisk), Ganymede Software (acquired by NETIQ IPO) and Exam Design (acquired by Person PLC, NASDAQ: PSO).