The Small Business Center at Southwestern Community College will host a “Regional Business Plan Competition” to help individuals transform their ideas into fully realized businesses.

The kickoff for the event will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20, in the Burrell Building on the SCC campus.

This event will feature a panel of business owners, including Steve Baxley from Baxley’s Chocolate in Sylva, Debra Hedden from Luxury Therapeutics in Franklin, and Robyn and Ted Duncan from Shift Wellness and Performance in Bryson City.

Panelists will discuss their experiences writing their business plans, important questions they had to ask themselves and what resources need to be in place for a business to start operating.

The kickoff event will serve as an introduction to the competition itself, which runs from Feb. 3-March 23. The eight-week series will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Mondays in the Burrell Building.

Weekly topics include the following:

• Am I entrepreneurial material?

• Business plan development and zero in on your market.

• Business simulation.

• Marketing mix.

• Business analysis and operation.

• Financials for small business.

• Taxes and bookkeeping basics for small business.

• Business plan presentations.

Throughout the series, participants will work through each element needed to develop a successful business plan. During the final session, competitors will put together an organized business plan and present it.

“If you’re looking to start a business, or if you’ve been in business for 18 months or less, this competition is a wonderful opportunity to get some huge momentum behind your ideas,” said Tiffany Henry, director of SCC’s Small Business Center.

The winner of the competition will receive $5,000 that will be used to assist with startup expenses or expansion of an existing business.

The competition is co-sponsored by the Jackson County Office of Economic Development, the Macon County Economic Development Commission and the Swain County Economic Development Commission.

Participation is free. Pre-registration is required at Prospective attendees are encouraged to register a week in advance.

For more information about any of the services and seminars offered by SCC’s Small Business Center, contact Henry at or 339-4426.