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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Finalists announced for business plan contest

The six finalists for a business plan competition in Fredericksburg at which someone will win $10,000 were announced Monday.

Ideas for a botanical garden, a restaurant focused on peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, a downtown microbrewery, software that makes sharing contacts quick and easy, a web-based platform for college IDs and a way for schools to fundraise selling local products were the concepts selected for the final round of judging.

The event, called Made in FredVA, will start at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at the University of Mary Washington’s Dodd Auditorium. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased through the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce’s website.

The Chamber and its affiliate, the Next Generation of Business Leaders, are putting the event on for the first time this year. It’s patterned after ABC’s popular “Shark Tank” show, on which entrepreneurs pitch their concepts to a panel of experienced business owners in an attempt to gain capital.

The winner of the Made in FredVA event will receive $10,000 toward the costs of starting his or her business. The audience at the event will also select a “people’s choice award.”

The Economic Development Authorities in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties each contributed $3,000 toward the grand prize. The Fredericksburg EDA contributed $1,000, and Next Gen raised the remaining $3,000 at a reverse raffle event held this past spring. Atlantic Builders is the title sponsor for the Made in FredVA event itself.

Seventeen people submitted ideas for new local businesses. A panel of judges that included Michael Colangelo, Adam Fried, Christine Goodwin, Brad Jones, Mary Parnell and Lynne Richardson selected the finalists for the Oct. 30 event.

The judges at the Made in FredVA event will be Matt Armstrong of Deedod Inc., John Fick III of J.F. Fick Inc., Jeff Morin of, Rebecca Rubin of Marstel-Day LLC and Doug Stewart of Cary Street Partners.

Here are the finalists and their proposed businesses:

  • Mary Lou Cramer, Buy Local Hands. Company would help schools with fundraising by offering high-quality products made by local artisans, artists, farmers and more.
  • Andy Leonard, Campus IDeas. Company would increase the functionality of student ID cards by putting them on smartphones, and then sell advertising to local businesses.
  • Jim Haney, Fredericksburg Botanical Gardens. Company would create a 100-acre botanical garden at Celebrate Virginia South in Fredericksburg patterned after the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Norfolk Botantical Garden.
  • Whitney Kemmey, Muster Me. Company would use software that would allow people and companies to quickly and easily share contact information for a fee.
  • Shawn Phillips, Spencer Devon Brewing. Company would open a microbrewery and restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg offering craft beers and entrees made with local ingredients.
  • Adrian Silversmith, Sprelly. Company would open an eatery focused on sandwiches and crepes made with freshly ground nut butters and a variety of jellies.

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