Steamboat Springs business plan competition nears its end

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— A local business plan competition put on by Yampa Valley SCORE is down to its last stages after the six finalists gave presentations about their ventures to a team of evaluators Thursday and Friday in CMC's new Entrepreneurship Center.

The finalists are in the running for a $2,500 cash prize and other perks, but the advice from the group of professional evaluators might be the most valuable asset of the process.

“It was almost extreme counseling,” said Randy Rudasics, manager of the Entrepreneurship Center, likening the competition to the more in-depth counseling done by SCORE.

One of the businesses, Event Medical Solutions Unlimited, might already sound familiar to Steamboat residents. The business, which focuses on providing medical services to sports events in the area, already has worked several mountain races and has been featured in the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Mountain Pine Manufacturing addresses a topic of public interest: What to do with beetle-killed trees? The Steamboat business plans to take advantage of the otherwise unfortunate effect of pine beetles by turning the logs into an erosion mitigation product called Wood Straw, owner Trent Jones said. The feedstock for the process will be provided by Rogue Resources and will be fed into a proprietary machine that produces the patented Wood Straw. Mountain Pine Manufacturing purchased a regional license to distribute Wood Straw and the machine to make it from Washington-based Forest Concepts.

The product finds its niche in uses for which agricultural straw might not be enough to protect sensitive areas or watersheds from erosion threats, but other mitigation products such as hydromulch are not practical, Jones said. Wood Straw has been used by the U.S. Forest Service after major Colorado forest fires and locally for roadside erosion mitigation.

Another finalist is looking to help you reach a natural resource. Plecoptera — the scientific name for stoneflies — is a venture by Todd Krentz and Bryce Daviess to craft a better way to transport fly fishing rods on top of cars.

The duo are responding to the market of people who don’t want to break down their rods or, worse, break their rods in the process of transporting them. While there are other rod carriers on the market, Krentz and Daviess are designing an upscale, boutique product that still can appeal to the non-guide market. Plecoptera boasts options in finishes and capacity, a universal mount for different racks and cars and all U.S.-made components and local manufacturing.

A step away from the manufacturing business is how to get your product in the hands of consumers. That’s where Paul Taby comes in. His business, Sales Performance Inc., provides a metric-driven, closed-loop process for small businesses to improve their sales process. He said he’s drawing on years of experience in strategic sales to help companies execute their visions.

Also taking part in the competition are Kelley Klawiter, with an idea for an arts party spot and service, and Kelly Halpin, who has a plan for Occidental West Designs landscape design.

But stay tuned. The competition will announce the winner next week.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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