Dosa Kitchen wins WCEDP Business Plan Competition

BRATTLEBORO — “It's all about your go-to market strategy” stated Jeffery Thomas, executive director of Lever Inc. and one of the judges for the 2022 Windham County Economic Development Program (WCEDP) Business Plan Competition, in addressing the finalists before the winner was announced.

Thomas was one of the six judges on this year's panel, alongside Bronna Zlochiver of the WCEDP Council, Sara Powell of the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, Meg Streeter of Southeastern Vermont Economic Development, Ed Sheldon of Key Bank, and Dena Moses of Vermont Weaving, last year's Competition winner.

Dosa Kitchen, led by Leda Scheintaub and Nash Patel, worked with multiple mentors to refine and pitch their plan, which earned solid recognition from the judges and ultimately, the grand prize in the competition.

In a news release, the judges said they were very impressed with the dedication and commitment put forth by all seven finalists: Kristen and Karen Nelson with West River Coffee Bar(n) in Londonderry; Christina Delsoldato and Matt Blake with Hayden Rowe Candle Company of South Londonderry; Nicole Crouch-Diaz with Earthen Co. in Putney; Jake Checani and Ryan Foster with Home Grown Edible Landscaping & Nursery, and Katheryn Stadler with Wicked Clean Grooming, both in Guilford; and Darren Mark with The Invèntory of Brattleboro.

At the outset of the competition, 25 entrepreneurs submitted applications to compete. All applicants participated in one of four local Quick Pitch Events, hosted in June.

In addition to the application and pitch participation, all businesses had to meet the competition criteria of being located in Windham County.

These included being a legal entity to receive grant funding, being able to demonstrate the potential to serve a gap in the market, and possessing projections that demonstrate revenues greater than supporting owner salaries and two FTEs (full time equivalent employees) within one year. Reinvestment into business must also be a priority for the first three years and reflected in projections.

Eight semifinalists met these criteria and were provided access to online business planning software provided by the BDCC, and funded through WCEDP.

All seven finalists' business plans were reviewed by judges, who said they found a wide spread of viability among the finalist businesses.

Judges were unanimous in their opinion to award the $20,000 grand prize to Scheintaub and Patel.

Students from Landmark College's Entrepreneurship class were in attendance, as well as guests of the finalists and members of the WCEDP Advisory Council, who advises BDCC staff on the Competition and WCEDP Revolving Loan Fund.

Fox spoke briefly to the history of WCEDP, having been formed out of a need to mitigate economic losses following the anticipated closure of Vermont Yankee. WCEDP investments are guided by the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) the region's economic plan, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

The Pitch event was hosted at the Williamsville Hall and sponsored by the Brattleboro Reformer and Peak Radio. Natty Hussey, BDCC's Director of Business Acceleration, organized the competition.

“This entire process is about accelerating every business that participates - from the application process, through the pitch events, and final judging,” said Hussey. “We want to help each entrepreneur move their business goals forward.”

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates