The Yolo Business Ascent Challenge is looking for young entrepreneurs to test the ability of their company to survive in a struggling economy.
The challenge kicked off in early March, and continues to look for new and developing businesses to participate. It is sponsored by Golden Capital Network, a company that aims to introduce innovative entrepreneurs to capital, expertise and resources.
“The challenge caters to start up companies who want publicity and attention from investors,“ said Brian Abbanat, economic development specialist for the city of Davis.
The companies participating are in growth or development stages, Abbanat said.
“The competition … is a survival style format,” he added.
Each company participating must make it past multiple rounds of challenges to survive in the competition, Abbanat said.
One of the challenges is the “speed pitch round,” in which companies must pitch their business plan to investors in two minutes. Other challenges lead to the final “summit pitch round,” which is the finalized presentation from each company.
While the winning company does receive a cash prize, the access to publicity and company exposure is the most important thing that the company gains, he added.
Puroast, a Woodland-based entrepreneurial company that specializes in low-acid coffee, presented at the launch and has been continually involved in the Yolo Ascent Challenge.
“Part of the motivation to have us on the panel was because of all the stuff we have done to develop our business in Yolo County,” said Kerry Sachs, co-founder of Puroast Coffee.
Sachs and other members of the Puroast team shared their experience with the entrepreneurial aspect of their company.
“Through a series of entrepreneurial trial and error experiences, we ended up discovering a way of producing coffee that is low on acid but great in flavor,” Sachs said.
As a co-founder of Puroast, Sachs provided advice to young entrepreneurs at the launch of the Yolo Business Ascent Challenge.
“The most fundamental piece of advice I would give somebody is: Do not have a fall back plan,” he said. “The experience of [entrepreneurship] is really about a complete commitment to delivering on want you believe in.“
Despite harsh economic times, new and developing businesses could still have a bright future, he added.
“If you maintain a high level of commitment and passion [for your business] your odds of success go way up,” Sachs said.
With the help of UC Davis in the testing and development stages of their company, Puroast has been able to make a successful product that they want to in turn make accessible to the UC Davis community, Sachs said.
The Yolo Business Ascent Challenge can be a great opportunity for students or recent graduates to showcase their creativity, said Jim Mikles, vice president of Golden Capital Network.
“The challenge is part of a statewide initiative to find the very best innovation companies,” he said.
While the Golden Capital Network has been sponsoring business competitions for many years, this is the first time they have conducted one on a statewide scale, Mikles added.
For more information on the Yolo Business Ascent Challenge visit yolo.businessascent.com.
CAITLIN COBB can be reached at email@example.com.