February 16, 2015

The Launch Place, an established entrepreneurial development organization headquartered in Danville, Virginia, and First Flight Venture Center, the largest technology incubator in the Research Triangle, North Carolina, have come together once again to host a contest, called The Big Launch Challenge, with two awards totaling up to $20,000 for first place and up to $10,000 for second.

This year’s challenge will feature a total of two elimination rounds with the final pitch event to be held on May 19, 2015, starting at 1 p.m., at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia. Applications can be submitted by March 31st at https://thebiglaunchchallenge.startuplocal.biz/.

According to organizers, in its second year, The Big Launch Challenge is one of the foremost events for startups.

“Based on the number of inquiries, The Big Launch Challenge has become a highly anticipated event in the region,” said Eva Doss, President of The Launch Place. “Not only does the competition provide entrepreneurs with prize money, but it also serves as a platform for them to learn about The Launch Place’s entrepreneurship services and investment opportunities in Danville, Virginia.”

Doss added, “The Big Launch Challenge provides entrepreneurs with the best possible resources, including education, networking, team creation, mentorship, early-stage prototyping and potential follow-on seed financing, to help turn innovative ideas into real businesses. Our mission is to provide support for entrepreneurs and established businesses and stimulate economic growth and draw new employers to the region.”

Last year, at the first Big Launch Challenge, six contenders were selected from a submission of 31 applications. Larry Dickinson of 3F, LLC, captured first place and $15,000. 3F makes and sells high-performance yarns to companies in the $4 billion hand protection market.

“This competition promotes creative technology-related ideas and helps entrepreneurs gain both experience and exposure for taking their business ideas forward,” said Dickinson.  “For me, I am now in a position to take our product to market.”

The Big Launch Challenge is open to the following industries:  Nano technology, green technology, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, medical devices and information technology.

To be eligible to participate, companies must:

  • Have fewer than 10 employees
  • Have a physical product to develop
  • Be willing to locate a part of the operations and/or manufacturing for this business in Danville, Virginia
  • Be willing to receive mentorship and guidance from The Launch Place and First Flight Venture Center teams

“We are excited to be working again with The Launch Place on The Big Launch Challenge, said Andy Schwab, President of First Flight Venture Center. “This event brings together talented entrepreneurs and start-ups, all in an effort to help find good ideas and build sustainable businesses.”

To register for the event and for more information, go to https://thebiglaunchchallenge.startuplocal.biz/