Enterprise Challenge has opened their registration for the 2018 competition

Enterprise Challenge has opened their registration for the 2018 competition

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Entrepreneurs from Yakima and Kittitas counties can start signing up for the eighth annual Enterprise Challenge, an annual business plan contest for new and emerging companies.

Richard Arlt is owner of Wycked Hitch, a family owned business that manufactures custom hitches for the popular Polaris Slingshot and he says the challenge changed his business.

“Oh my gosh I get a free business education. Basically I earned a business degree by entering the challenge for free and $2,500 because we ended up third place," said Arlt.

He says before the challenge he had little to no knowledge about how to run a business but the competition has several mentors that help guide every business owner.

“The speakers, the help the amount of help we received from all over the central Washington area was amazing, so best decision we ever did was attend the enterprise challenge," said Arlt.

Wycked Hitch now ships his products to all 50 states in the country.

The Enterprise Challenge is put together by the Yakima County Development Association and the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce.

According to a press release, they have helped launch over 60 successful start – ups throughout these counties.

The challenge provides entrepreneur training, mentoring and resources that provide contestants with business planning, analysis and long-term strategies.

Starting in January contestants will take marketing, finance and planning classes. A group of judges will then review each submitted plan and in February a group of eight finalists will compete for their share of $17,500.

Business owners are encouraged to start signing up right away. There is a registration fee of $200 before Dec. 29 and $225 until Jan. 5.

“If you’re a new start up business, you don’t know where you’re headed, what direction and you don’t know that much about a business plan, the enterprise challenge will help you tremendously in the startup, management and getting your business off the ground," said Arlt.

For information on how to sign up click here.

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