Southeast Business Plan Competition: From idea to execution

Melissa Chapman, the owner of Melissa's Hair Therapy on South Circle Drive, won the 2016 Southeast Business Plan Competition. The contest returns this year.

Melissa Chapman, the owner of Melissa’s Hair Therapy on South Circle Drive, won the 2016 Southeast Business Plan Competition. The contest returns this year.

An aspiring entrepreneur will garner more than $40,000 in cash and services as the winner of the second Southeast Business Plan Competition.

Sponsored by the Southeast Express, Colorado Springs Business Journal and the Colorado Springs Independent, the contest is designed to help nurture small business start-ups in the region.

“Successful small business can help jump-start a family, as well as the entire community,” Colorado Publishing House Chairman John Weiss said about why his company launched the competition.

The first winner, in 2016, was Melissa Chapman. The 42-year-old had been contemplating opening her own salon for at least a decade.

“Probably longer,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve had it in my head that, ‘Oh, if I opened my own shop, this is what it would be.’ ”

After enrolling in the Thrive Network’s entrepreneurial training program, Chapman entered her plan and was selected the inaugural winner. (In the interest of full disclosure, Chapman has been Editor Regan Foster’s stylist since 2008.)

This year’s contest aims to help a deserving Southeast entrepreneur get his or her company off the ground. The proposal can be from a start up that will launch in the next 6 months or an established business that has been operating for less than two years.

The best plan will be rewarded with an extensive suite of services from some of the best IT, website development, legal, real estate, banking and entrepreneurial-education pros in the area.

“Successful small business can help jump-start a family, as well as the entire community.” — Colorado Publishing  House Chairman John Weiss

To submit your plan, visit CSBJ.com/nominate. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, call 634-5905.

When she entered the ’16 competition, Chapman was self-employed and renting a booth at a northside salon. And while she had previously studied three semesters of business at Pikes Peak Community College, she hadn’t felt confident enough to open her own space.

Melissa Chapman, the owner of Melissa's Hair Therapy on South Circle Drive, won the 2016 Southeast Business Plan Competition. The contest returns this year.But buoyed by the win, She set about searching for premises in Southeast. She settled into a 1,200-square-foot space at 1726 S. Circle Drive, inside the Market at Spring Creek shopping center.

Chapman signed a five-year lease on the last day of 2016, and Melissa’s Hair Therapy opened its doors on March 31, 2017. After 24 years of making other people feel beautiful, Chapman has found beauty in the way Southeast has embraced her.

“It’s no small thing,” she said. “I might just be a little blip on the radar, but that little blip has been supported by the whole community.”

news@southeastexpress.org

GET INVOLVED

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2019 Southeast Business Plan Competition. To qualify, would-be businesses:

• Must be headquartered in the 80910 or 80916 ZIP codes.

• Must either plan to launch within six months or be less than 2 years old.

• Must not be a franchise, nonprofit or multi-level marketing company.

• Must be a legal resident of the United States.

• Must not be owned by family or staff of Colorado Publishing House.

Expansions will be allowed if the headquarters are in Southeast. To apply or for further details, visit CSBJ.com/nominate.

For more information on sponsorships or advertising, call 634-5905.

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