USA TODAY: Louisiana Startup Prize Launches 2017 Competition

The Louisiana Startup Prize launched its fourth year  to a packed house of anxious entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors at a Parish Taceaux on Wednesday.

Startup Prize Entrepreneur Liaison Sabrina Adsit and Gregory Kallenberg, founder and executive director, rang the ceremonial bell to open up registration for the Startup Prize, which they’ve dubbed “The Most Amazing Entrepreneurial Competition on the Planet.”

After three successful years, Kallenberg announced on Wednesday more national investors will be added to the investor judge group this year and special keynotes will be coordinated to speak at the Startup Prize 2017 Qualifying Events.

The Startup Prize is an entrepreneurial competition aimed at evolving business through a series of networking and educational events called qualifying events, which give entrepreneurs access to business resources (accounting, legal, marketing and investors) essential for a startup’s success. Startups are then connected with potential investors and compete for more than $70,000 in cash and professional services.

Last year’s event brought in over 150 entrepreneurs (representing 82 startup companies and small businesses). Out of those entrepreneurs, 52 percent were from outside of NWLA and 60 percent were female and/or minority business owners.

“This competition has become a ‘must’ for any startup or small business that is serious about their success and gaining the opportunity for financing or investment,” said Kallenberg. “The Startup Prize’s goal is help transform companies and then connect them with investors. In my mind, except for places like the Rice Business Plan Competition, no one does this as well as we do.”

The Louisiana Startup Prize is open to all entrepreneurs from all over the country and will consist of two qualifying events on April 21-23 and June 2-4 in Shreveport. Each startup will be required to attend at least one weekend-long qualifier to be eligible for the grand prize. Qualifying events cost $50 each to attend.

The Louisiana Startup Prize is the largest entrepreneurial gatherings in north Louisiana, and organizers hope it will help build an entrepreneurial culture in the region.

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