Waste Farmers was named the grand prize winner of the Denver Office of Economic Development’s JumpStart Biz Plan Awards at a judging event this morning. The honor includes $50,000 cash, free office space for a year, and consulting resources to assist the firm with its future growth.
More than 130 businesses applied for the city’s second annual business plan competition earlier this summer. Applicants represented a wide variety of industries including technology, manufacturing, health care, finance, renewable energy and hospitality.
“As Denver continues to embrace the startup culture, we’re working year-round on strategic economic development initiatives to support our local entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “These are the investments we’re making in Denver’s ideas economy. When the applications for this rigorous annual competition are submitted, the entries put names and faces on our vibrant small business climate. It’s gratifying and very rewarding to see these companies thriving.”
Ten applicants were recognized earlier this week by the city with Innovation Awards, and Waste Farmers was one of three finalists competing for the grand prize at today’s event. Each finalist presented a business plan overview and answered questions from a judging panel comprised of representatives from award program sponsors and last year’s winner, AppIt Ventures.
Waste Farmers is a sustainable agriculture company that cultivates solutions to meet food demands while decreasing agriculture’s burden on the environment. Founded in 2009, the company manufactures and sells premium organic soil products under the “Maxfield’s” and “Batch:64” brand names. Waste Farmers currently has 14 employees and anticipates doubling its staff during the next year.
In addition to the $50,000 cash award, the grand prize includes one year of office space at Galvanize, 35 hours of legal counsel provided by Polsinelli, 60 hours of strategic marketing services from dovetail solutions, and entrepreneurship mentoring from TiE Rockies and Rockies Venture Club.
“We’re delighted to honor Waste Farmers and to help boost their development through the awards program prize package,” said OED Executive Director Paul Washington. “Together, our ten Innovation Award honorees represent the best of what Denver’s early-stage business environment is creating.”
2013 JumpStart Biz Plan sponsors include US Bank, Galvanize, Polsinelli, Deloitte, dovetail solutions, TiE Rockies, Rockies Venture Club, Microsoft, AppIt Ventures and Business Catapult.