Entrepreneurial challenge begins
By Reed Fujii
Record Staff Writer
February 21, 2014 – 12:00 AM
Earl Brown, owner of Radiant Ride, a car-care program that offers cosmetic repair protection to new and used-car buyers, expects the San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge to help his startup business get to the next level.
But even through the “American Idol”-style competition offers $24,000 in cash and prizes to the winners, theStockton resident said just the experience of competing before a judging panel of business experts should provide valuable lessons.
Radiant Ride was launched in May and is offered through seven Central Valley new-car dealerships.
“It’s a relatively new startup, and I thought the experience of the entering this program and getting a little exposure and networking with fellow entrepreneurs would benefit my company,” Brown said.
“I would like to scale the company more – regionally – and I’m looking forward to feedback from business professionals, fellow entrepreneurs, people on the judging panel, who have experienced business growth and run successful companies.”
And that’s just what Brown will get during the quarter-final round of competition to be held March 5 in Stockton.
The 16 contestants, vying for a share of $10,000 in cash and $14,000 in business services, will have two minutes each to present their business ideas, in what is known as an “elevator pitch,” to the expert judges and a voting audience. Eight winners will be selected to go on to two more rounds of live competition on March 26.
Organizers of the annual event aim to spark new business development in the northern San Joaquin Valley and adjoining Mother Lode area, and help create jobs and economic activity.
“These aspiring entrepreneurs have now taken the first steps to starting their own business in our region, and we hope the competition will encourage them to continue to pursue their vision,” said Mark Plovnick, president of the San Joaquin Angels and University of the Pacific’s director of economic development.
Many of the 250 past participants in the challenge have started or expanded their businesses, he noted.
“One particularly successful 2010 participant sold his software business to computer maker Dell,” Plovnick said.
The March 5 and 26 events will both run from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Stockton Golf & Country Club, 3800 W. Country Club Blvd. The public is invited to attend.
There’s a cover charge of $15 in advance or $20 at the door, and it includes light food and beverages.
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For more information about the challenge and to sign up to attend the event: