A private developer’s business plan competition

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Start-up companies usually need office space and, in some cases, factory and distribution facilities. Needless to say, property rentals can get expensive, which is one reason why business incubators offering free or low-cost space are so popular.

Free space is also one of the prizes in many business plan competitions. Often, the non-profit agency or educational institution that organizes and hosts the competition already owns the facilities that can house the winning start-up. But sometimes it doesn’t and must solicit a contribution of leasehold space from a private developer or other private owner.

That is, unless the start-up is located in Nashua, New Hampshire. A property developer there, the John J. Flatley Company, has announced its own business plan competition called the NTP Challenge with the prize being one year of free rent (up to 5,000 square feet) at its Nashua Technology Park, plus up to $10,000 worth of fit-up, connectivity and related costs.

And instead of being solicited by a local development agency, the John J. Flatley Company has gone to local organizations and asked for their help. Representatives of the City of Nashua Economic Development Office, the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, and the New Hampshire High Tech Council have agreed to evaluate the applications and help select the winner.

Flatley Co. spokesperson Kerry Thompson says the reasons for organizing the competition and making such a significant financial commitment are two-fold. The company not only wants to help jumpstart the local Nashua economy but also sees an opportunity to promote the Nashua Technology Park.

“Mr. Flatley came up with the idea when he was looking at business plan competitions taking place in the Boston area,” Thompson told us. Will it be an annual event? “Possibly,” she says, “depending on the response to this one.”

The Nashua economic development groups that were invited to help out with the NTP Challenge were happy to get involved. Thomas Galligani from the city’s Office of Economic Development says “I’m interested in assisting with any effort to attract new business to Nashua.” Furthermore, he hopes that other businesses in the community will be motivated by this initiative and take on similar efforts.

We hope so too, not only in Nashua but across the country.

Photo Credit: John J. Flatley Company

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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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