The Springboard Ideas Challenge is a competition that allows aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch business concepts to investors for a chance to make it a reality. With new changes to the process, the seventh annual competition is expected to be bigger and better than ever.

This year, Springboard has revamped the initial application process in order to make it easier for participants to apply. In past years, a complete business plan was required. Starting this year, all that is required to apply is a business concept or idea. Contest entry can be completed online.

A panel of judges will select promising ideas from the online applications to advance to the next phase. Once selected, these contestants will be required to submit a business plan to elaborate on their concept to potential investors. Judges will then select finalists to move on to the finals, where contestants will create a 10-15 minute presentation for live judges followed by a Q&A about their plan.

Finalists will attend an awards dinner on April 15th, where they will showcase their ideas, and winners of each category will be announced. This year’s dinner will feature Stu Crum, President of Bridgestone Retail Operations, as a guest speaker.

The competition is split into three different divisions: the college division, the community-growth competition, and the community small-business competition. In the college division, the first, second, and third place winners will receive a cash prizes of up to $7,500 to help fund their business concept. In the community-growth division, the top three winners will compete for a top prize of $15,000. The small-business competition has a top prize of $5,000. All prize money is donated by a variety of local sponsors.

Applicants must be 18 years old, a permanent resident of one of the 19 qualifying counties that surround the Abilene area, or must be attending one of the colleges in the surrounding area. Online applications are due before 5 pm on March 7th. For more information on the guidelines, you can go to, or for questions, email us at