Hands Up Lake County

What is Hands Up Lake County?

Hands Up Lake County is a competition inspired by Shark Tank and other competitions that reward entrepreneurial creativity and business development – such as Start Up Mendocino, The Freemont Economic Development Corps and Fordham’s Foundry, Venture Up!

Participants will be tasked to develop a viable business plan that can be sustainable in Lake County. Throughout the whole process of the competition, participants will have the opportunity to receive advice and mentorship from experienced business leaders with a proven track record in the local community. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with relevant people from 1Team 1Dream’s network to help strengthen their skillset.

The Competition in a nutshell

There will be four phases to the competition.

1. The Application

Prospective candidates must fill out the application form by the deadline. The application includes questions related to the proposed business plan or concept. All applications must be submitted online. 10-15 candidates will be selected to go to Phase 2.

*Application Deadline: July 31, 2020.

2. Training

Participants will be equipped with the know-how to develop a viable business plan. 1Team 1Dream will hold a 1-day business planning training, which will be held at the Lodge at Blue Lakes in Upper Lake on a date to be announced. Local instructors, Denise Rushing and Carol Cole-Lewis, will take participants through the basics of business plan development, financials, marketing and case histories. Participants will receive a workbook complete with templates and reference materials.

3. Initial Presentation

After the training, all participants must apply the key learnings into his or her business plan. He or she will finalize their business plan and make a presentation to a panel of judges. This is a “mini-competition,” from which 5 finalists will be selected to proceed to the main competition on December 6 at the Soper Reese Theater in Lakeport.

4. Final Sales Pitch

On the final round, the 5 finalists will be required to do their sales pitch in front of a panel of judges and the audience. The final competition will be held at the Soper Reese Theatre on December 6, 2020. The specific criteria for judging will be shared to all the participants.

Who can join the competition?

Anyone! So as long as you are 18 years old and above and a resident of Lake County, you can join!

We are looking for creative individuals who can think outside of the box and present a solid business plan that could make a positive and sustainable impact on Lake County. He or she has the chance to win a cash prize that can help jumpstart his or her business, as well as receive advice and mentorship from one of Lake County’s trusted business establishment names.

To be eligible to join, participants must be at least 18 years old. He or she should be a resident of Lake County, California. The competition will be for budding entrepreneurs and for-profit organizations only.​

Due to the Federal cannabis laws, we are not accepting cannabis related ideas/submittals.

What are the criteria in choosing the participants?

During the application process, participants will be chosen according to how feasible their business plans are from a competitive and marketing standpoint. The most interesting and viable business plan will be chosen to join the next phase.

The top 5 finalists will be chosen based on the essential information they’ve included in their plan as well as how they well they’ve drafted their written plan. Using clear and direct-to-the point communication will be given utmost importance aside from a good business concept.

The final phase will focus on the sales pitch. The winner of the competition will be the participant who is able to present and communicate his business plan clearly and creatively to a panel of judges and the audience.

What are the prizes?

Each participant of the competition has the chance to win one of 5 cash prizes, which he or she can use to jumpstart his business plan:

1st Prize: $10,000
2nd Prize: $5,000
3rd Prize: $3,000
4th Prize: $1,500
5th Prize: $1,000


Be a Participant!
Fill out your online applications here by June 30, 2020


Check out the brochure that will provide detailed information on the Hands Up Lake County Program.
​Please feel free to download, print, and hand out our brochure.

FAQS: Your questions answered

Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
A. Applicants must be 18 years or older and have an idea for a start up business or be a small Lake County business owner.

If you are someone who believes in and loves Lake County; has a dream to own a business; has a creative idea and the ability and stamina it takes to make it in business; has what it takes to pitch your idea to others; and needs a financial boost to kick-start a business or take your small business to the next level, we encourage you to apply.

Q. Are there any restrictions I should be aware of?
A. Due to the Federal cannabis laws, we are not accepting cannabis related businesses. Additionally, only for-profit businesses can apply.

Q. Is there an application fee or charge to participate?
A. No. You are however required to attend the 1-day training & follow up competitions.

Q. How do I apply for the Hand Up Lake County opportunity?
A. Find the online and fillable PDF applications above.

*Application Deadline: July 31, 2020.

Q. Will there be any follow-up training prior to the final competition?
A. Yes. The 5 finalists will be able to receive 1:1 training according to their specific needs.

Q. Do all 5 finalists receive a cash award?
A. Yes, the prizes are $10,000, $5,000, $3000, $1,500 and $1,000.

Q. If I have further questions, whom may I contact?
A. Contact Olga Steele at 916-849-8170 should you have any unanswered questions.

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