By Regan Foster, Southeast Express

Regan Foster
Regan Foster, Southeast Express

As the founding editor and general manager of the Southeast Express newspaper, I can’t tell you how excited we are to be partnering with the Colorado Springs Business Journal in the Southeast Business Plan Competition. This is an amazing contest geared toward growing entrepreneurs from the ground up — think of it as the most sincere form of “grassroots” — and encouraging reinvestment in and the re-creation of this vibrant, but oft-overlooked, part of the community.

Southeast Colorado Springs is a special place. It is unarguably the city’s most diverse community, and there is an energy to the 80910 and 80916 ZIP codes that you can feel. It’s the thrum of a community on the verge of reinventing itself, and a critical force driving that renaissance is its home-grown businesses and business leaders.

The Southeast Business Plan Competition celebrates the best in cutting-edge, creative and innovative entrepreneurial ideas. The contestants come from all walks of life and are as diverse as the residents they aim to serve. Their proposals include nonprofit, for-profit and social-enterprise models. Many proposals were designed to solve issues facing the Southeast.

It’s not an easy task, whittling 32 entries down to the final four, but it’s an important one.

We are confident that the winning business will get the critical investment and guidance it needs to go from fledgling idea to fully blown enterprise. These finalists are competing for about $20,000 worth of consultation, services and expertise from our partners and sponsors — and with that sort of support, how could they fail? We want to thank each of the 32 budding entrepreneurs who put his or her plan to paper for trusting us with your idea. It’s never an easy proposition, presenting your vision for others’ interpretation, but sometimes the greatest risks reap the biggest rewards.

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We also extend our sincere gratitude to our tremendous sponsors and partnering experts. Your support will help shape the future of business in the Southeast.

And finally, we wish the best of luck to the 2019 victor, who was announced at yesterdays event, after the Business Journal had gone to press. The road ahead won’t be easy, but we can assure you, it will be worth it.