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Carroll Biz Challenge, contest for local entrepreneurs, accepting applications through May

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Local entrepreneurs have until the end of the month to send in their pitches for a chance at $5,000 at the annual Carroll Biz Challenge.

The challenge, powered by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, has become a tradition and is now in its eighth year.

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“One of our members, Jason Stambaugh, came to me with this idea,” said Mike McMullin, president of the Chamber of Commerce. “We modeled it after the ‘Shark Tank’ show.”

The Biz Challenge offers an opportunity for Carroll County entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas, make connections, gain publicity and prizes in addition to the grand monetary prize. It’s open to all Carroll County residents, age 18 and over. To enter, visit www.carrollbizchallenge.com and submit an idea for a business. Five of those who enter will be selected in June by a panel of judges to make it through to the live finale on Aug. 8, when four judges will crown this year’s winner.

“We do something local that can really help catapult their business,” McMullin said.

The previous winners have been: Holistic Home Energy Services (2012), Silver Linings Lavender Farm (2013), Run Moore (2014), Autumn Summer (2015) and Enter Exit Escape (2016), bookSwap (2017) and Brewery Fire (2018).

Local business owner Steven Moore received a lot of publicity for his business, Run Moore, during and after winning the challenge.

“I’ve been here five years and I still have people come in and that’s how they know us,” Moore said. “I encourage people all the time that are thinking about doing a business or just starting a business to get involved with it. Even if we hadn’t won, obviously that was awesome winning it, but we had such great exposure; we were in the paper frequently, we were sort of out there a little bit, and it’s been nice now because I like to think we’re sort of an ambassador for the event.”

Run Moore was already open for three months when Moore participated in the challenge. A life-long runner, Moore got the inspiration for the company after finding a need for some running shoes after the birth of his youngest son. He noticed that there weren’t any specialty running stores in a 45-minute radius. The dad of a newborn knew he couldn’t keep driving out so far from home, so he decided to fulfill the need for such a place in Carroll County by opening a specialty shoe store himself.

According to Moore, Run Moore is now listed as one of the top 50 running stores in the nation. The store is also moving to a new location twice its size.

The grand prize winner doesn’t only win the cash prize but also advertising and consulting help worth about $1,500.

“I believe this is the No. 1 entrepreneur event in all of Carroll. I’m really proud this is a Chamber event,” said McMullin. “Even though we support all businesses, we see the importance of giving local entrepreneurs a platform to show their stuff.”

The deadline for the 2019 Carroll Biz Challenge application is May 31.

For those considering participating, Moore offers one simple piece of advice: “Put yourself out there.”

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