Treasurer’s Business Plan Competition Winners Announced!

Sponsored by BMOHarris Bank, Administered by JVS/Duman

You can’t build a house without a blueprint, you can’t build a business without a business plan. Our 12th annual Business Plan Contest sifted through hundreds of entries to find the best and give them a share of $9,000 cash prizes. Winners were announced Friday Oct. 4, 2013 at the Small Business Entrepreneur Expo.

1. Chicago Mattress Recycling $5,000 winner

CMR will be a comprehensive mattress recycling operation with a unique business advantage – CMR not only will harvest the primary recyclable materials (steel, polyurethane foam, cotton, and wood) from discarded mattresses and box springs, but CMR also will process and sell mattress components for reuse in the manufacture of rebuilt bedding. The Owners and General Manager are confident that the time is right for Chicago Mattress Recycling to become Illinois’ first mattress recycling company.

2. Modern Sprout $2,500

At the cutting edge of countertop cultivation, Modern Sprout’s indoor windowsill planter features a hidden top-feed hydroponic system that self-waters, self-feeds and is soilless, making it perfect for space-conscious city dwellers, absent-minded gardeners, and armchair agrarians. The Modern Sprout planter is simple to set up, features four attractive finish options and fits perfectly in a small window. Green thumbs and novice gardeners alike can enjoy the luxury of growing organic botanicals year-round and at a fraction of the cost in grocery stores.

3. Saigon Sisters $1,500

Having started in a 250 sq. ft. sandwich stand in the Chicago French Market, Saigon Sisters has found a niche in the ethnic food segment particularly in a sandwich form that is not available in the downtown area where there is a high demand for a quick lunch that is tasty and of good value. Having won numerous accolades and opened a second and, most recently, a third location, Saigon Sisters wants to be a leader and game changer in the fast casual segment.

Runners up who had great ideas:

Gallery Bar: An Innovative Nightlife Venue

An edgy art gallery, craft beer cocktail lounge and Asian-inspired restaurant make Gallery Bar. They exhibit street, graffiti, pop and contemporary emerging artists in a highly sociable atmosphere. The space is the perfect environment for hosting private and public events. Gallery Bar aims to be an innovative night venue that merges the “art world” with the nightlife and be a premier venue for people to drink, eat and enjoy art pieces from some of the best artists in the Chicagoland area.

An e-commerce platform that will connect buyers and sellers of Vegan products, this website will be a simple, professional and easy to navigate tool to find and purchase vegan products. The focus will be on handcrafted products, though manufactured products will also be listed. A portion of the revenue will be donated to the charity that the buyer chooses while checking out. The mission for this business is simply to make buying vegan, easier.

Special thanks to JVS/Duman: they ran 6 FREE workshops to teach people how to write a business plan and help them fine tune their ideas.

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