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Business Plan Challenge dates announced -- info session Jan. 30

ADEM1354 Business Plan Logo 2013The 16th edition of the Miami Herald's Business Plan Challenge will be back next month -- with some new features and surprises in store. The contest -- with three tracks: community, FIU and high school -- will launch Monday, Feb. 3.

Entries, which are short business plans no more than 3 pages, will be due April 5. The contest includes our popular People's Pick online competition, too.

The complete rules, an update on past Miami Herald winners, and bios of our esteemed judges will all be found on MiamiHerald.com/challenge Feb. 3 and thereafter.

We are having our first informational meetup during FIU's Open Coffee Club on Jan. 30. During this Open Coffee Club, which will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Venture Hive, 1010 NE 2nd Ave., downtown Miami, I will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the contest, rules, etc. Of course, you don't have to be entering the Challenge to attend the Open Coffee Coffee Club.

The Open Coffee Club, if you don't know, happens every three weeks at different locations around the area. Mentors are on hand at these networking events to offer one-on-one feedback to entrepreneurs. 

So start shaping that business plan and we hope you all will enter the Challenge. Join us Jan. 30 and hit me up for questions. If you can't make it, we will have other info opportunities during the entry period, as well as a Business Plan Bootcamp.

The Business Plan Challenge is sponsored by FIU's Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center. The high school track is sponsored by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. I coordinate the contest, but panels of independent judges -- experts in South Florida entrepreneurship -- rate the plans and select the winners.

Questions about the Challenge: ndahlberg@miamiherald.com. Hope to see you all enter!