Mid-Plains Community College and the Valentine Economic Development Board are joining forces to promote the creation and expansion of businesses in and around the Heart City.

A total of $15,000 in grant money is up for grabs through the Valentine Business Plan Challenge. The goal of the competition is to stimulate entrepreneurship and support business expansion in the Valentine area. Entries will be accepted until Dec. 1.

“This is a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to develop a business plan and receive advice from experts,” Jeff Smeltzer, “Not only will it provide them with an in-depth assessment of their business models, but they may also be able to receive financial assistance for their projects.”

Only businesses that have been in existence for five years or less are allowed to enter. Plans may be submitted by individuals or teams, but all applicants must be at least 18. There is no limit to the number of people that can be on a team.

The amount of money dispersed to each finalist will be left to the discretion of a judging panel. All finalists will receive free tuition and fees, a value of approximately $321, for a mandatory three-credit hour online Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing course offered by MPCC.

Finalists are required to attend an orientation on Dec. 13 and present to the judges April 1.

Applications are available at: mpcc.edu/business-plan-challenge.