START Peninsula, a Peninsula region entrepreneurial competition offering $22,500 in prizes to three winners, is a three-day weekend event that was held at Thomas Nelson Community College’s Workforce Development Center from Friday, November 4th through Sunday, November 6th, 2016. START is sponsored by all Peninsula localities and the regional business incubators. The weekend event features a Shark Tank-style of business competition including mentors, speakers and panels over the course of the weekend, with the goal of creating and growing new businesses and diversifying our economy.
Individuals who are considering starting a business or are in early stage business development pitched their business ideas on Friday evening to a panel of expert judges. Of the ideas pitched, ten were selected to continue working on their presentations and ideas over the course of the weekend. After honing their concepts into viable business models, the ten selected pitched again on Sunday night for the chance to win a first-place prize of $10,000, second-place prize of $7,500, and third-place prize of $5,000. Winners were also provided incubator space at no cost for a limited period of time. The 2016 first-, second- and third-place winners were Unmanned Aerial Propulsion Systems, Oso Bear and AnswersNOW.