Children’s clothing and cryptocurrency have found common ground as the 2021 community business plan competition returned to Steamboat Springs after last year’s hiatus.
C4 Crypto Advisorsa Steamboat-based digital currency advisory and asset management service, won $6,000 for winning this year’s business plan competition hosted by Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center. Town Hall Outdoor Co., which focuses on durable outdoor clothing for children, won $4,000 as the finalist.
“Both of these startups were led by experienced business people,” said Randall Rudasics, director of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center. “It probably helped them create a good, articulated business plan that would represent well other business people who were judging the competition, so that their experiences in the professional world help them write good plans.”
Chris Slota and Chis Mihnovets, both former bankers who run C4 Crypto, said it was a confidence boost.
“We felt like winners even before we knew we won on Friday, and so getting it was just icing on the cake,” Slota said.
Winning the contest will provide funds to help C4 Crypto take their business to the next level, he added. The company is looking to create a referral program or use more sophisticated crypto-accounting software.
“We were mainly solving problems on the crypto side,” Slota said. “It helps us expand our brains a bit on how to start running the business and scale the business to a wider audience.”
City Hall Outdoor Co., which won second place in the competition, recently unveiled its winter lineup online.
“It’s official, our outerwear is on sale on our site, and we’re moving and rolling, which is pretty exciting,” said Robin Hall, co-founder and CEO of Town Hall.
Hall said she felt inspired to take on other local businesses in the competition.
“Being able to learn from each other and push each other was fantastic,” Hall said. “I’m a big fan of competition because it makes everyone better.”
Hall said the contest judges asked if his company might consider taking stock and getting a financial boost from an outside source.
“We were pretty firm that we didn’t want to do this and that we were there for the community,” Hall said. “We want to keep this wholly owned for as long as possible, so we can give back to this northwest Colorado community.”
This year, six business plans were submitted to the competition, but 17 companies presented themselves in the framework of educational seminars from April to August.
“It was the smallest group,” Rudasics said. “I don’t know if COVID was a factor or just the robust jobs economy we have, where there are lots of opportunities and good pay.”
Those who entered the competition submitted their plans by September 30 and presented them last month to a panel of three judges. The scores were based on 40% on the businesses written plan, 45% on presentation and 15% on financial viability.
Rudasics said the competition was made possible by a number of supporters, including Startup Colorado, the City of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. Steamboat Springs Chamber, THPK Certified Public Accountants, and Alpine, Yampa Valley, and Mountain Valley Banks also helped support the effort.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.