Ignite Business Incubator holds I2E awards ceremony

Paul Paterra

The Ignite Business Incubator recently held an awards ceremony for the latest cohort of Ideas 2 Enterprise (I2E).

The I2E program offers a five-week course for local entrepreneurs to assist in the creation of a formal business plan. The programming provides the pipeline of companies or organizations with the fundamental skills to grow businesses that will locate in Washington County, and helps existing ones improve their respective value propositions.

“At the end of the five weeks, the participants have the chance to pitch their businesses to a panel of judges, which are local community partners, to win some cash awards that are sponsored by EQT Foundation,” said Lauren LaGreca, Ignite manager. “Throughout the business planning workshops, you have the opportunity to build your business plan.”

LaGreca said this was the largest cohort of the four Ignite has had to date with 13 businesses participating, ranging from startups to existing businesses. She added that it was a diverse group of businesses taking part, offering everything from parts for radio-controlled cars to bookkeeping to bee housing.

Scot McTaggart, owner of Pitchwerks, worked with entrepreneurs on how to pitch their businesses. Award winners were announced April 7.

First place and $5,000 went to BeeVille Labs of Bentleyville, which is owned by Kevin Chester; second place and $3,000, S. Teller Business Solutions of Washington, owned by Shelley Teller; third place and $1,000, BELT Bath Bombs of Washington, owned by Tam Miles.

Ignite Business Incubator is a Washington & Jefferson College program that helps develop and foster new business formation and the growth of small businesses and non-profits.

LaGreca said the next cohort is scheduled for July with another possibly taking place in October.