As part of the Dillsboro Business Plan Competition, roughly a half dozen aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners transformed their ideas into business plans over the past four months while regularly attending free weekly seminars through Southwestern Community College’s Small Business Center in Webster.
Annie Burrell claimed the $5,000 grand prize during an awards banquet at SCC, but organizers said the town of Dillsboro will ultimately be the big winner as several viable business ideas emerged from the competition.
“We really hope everyone who participated will follow through and put the business plans they developed into action,” said Sonja Haynes, SCC’s dean of Workforce Innovations who spoke on behalf of the judges. “We feel like every single one of them has the potential to be very successful.”
Burrell, who opened Rabbit Creek Pottery in October with sister Jenny Patton, entered the competition to help formalize a business plan.
“I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed,” said Burrell, who lives in Franklin. “My sister and I are potters, and we’ve been struggling because we haven’t had a gas-fired kiln. I’ve had a kiln in the backyard covered up by a tarp because we couldn’t afford to get the gas hook-up, and this is going to make it possible.”