Business plan contests as goodwill ambassadors

Our family loves to vacation in Barbados: the best beaches, the friendliest people, the tastiest food.

So although it does not meet our criteria for posting on bizplancompetitions.com — because it is not conducted within the United States — a new business plan competition in Barbados caught our attention. Even more so when we noted the competition sponsor: the United States Embassy.

The United States Embassy Youth Business Plan Competition will award prizes of $2,000 and $1,500 (Barbados dollars) to the winners of the contest, who must be Barbados citizens under the age of 26. The money can be used for start-up funds or as a scholarship to further their studies. (The U.S. Embassy is partnering with the Cave Hill School of Business and the Barbados Youth Business Trust.)

Brian Toppings of the Cave Hill School of Business tells us he is not aware of any other U.S. Embassies around the world sponsoring business plan competitions. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new era of entrepreneurial ambassadorship.

The most disappointing aspect of the competition is that applicants will not be required to give presentations. There goes our reason to make a business trip to Barbados.

But perhaps we should still go there to interview the winners …

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Joe Hurley is a CPA, author of "The Best Way to Save for College - A Complete Guide to 529 Plans", founder of Savingforcollege.com, and co-founder of Bizplancompetitions.com. He has also recently started making maple syrup.
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