DENVER (CBS4)– Incentives from the City of Denver could help jump start your small business.

Jump Start Biz Plan Awards are entering their second year. The grand prize for having the brightest business plans include $50,000, one year of office space plus free legal, marketing and mentoring services.

Last year’s winning business, AppIt, is thriving thanks in part to some of those incentives.

At AppIt innovators can come in with just an idea and the company’s expert will help create an app for smartphones and tablets.

“We build custom software for smart phones,” said AppIt CEO Rob Carpenter.

The business was born from a desire to help people create business plans with online software but that quickly expanded into the world of apps.

“We were like, wow, we could really use what we’ve learned to start helping people build apps,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter also entered the City of Denver’s first Jump Start Biz Plan contest and to his surprise, “When they announced that we won, my knees buckled.”

AppIt grew exponentially with the $50,000 cash infusion. The company was able to hire more people and expand services.

“Beyond that it was the opportunity to get out and meet more people, organizations and get our name out there and snowball things,” said Carpenter.

The spirit of a small business, with 25 or fewer employees, is critical to our local economy, believes Denver Office of Economic Development spokesman Derek Woodbury, because 90 percent are small businesses.

“We’ve received applicants within high tech, technology, small manufacturers, health and wellness and food establishments,” said Woodbury.

The criteria for the contest: must be a start-up business or operating up to five years with up to 25 employees, must live or plan to reside in Denver.

“It’ll help you supercharge your business,” said Carpenter.

The awards program is open to the first 150 applicants. So far 50 have entered. The deadline is August 2.



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