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Small business contest offers prizes for Erie County entrepreneurs

The second annual The Pitch business plan competition is accepting applications through Sept. 1 for growth companies and small community businesses.

The competition provides an opportunity for area minority- and women-owned enterprises to compete for funding.

To be eligible, a business must be minority- or women-owned and located in Erie County. The business must not have more than 50 full-time employees and have operated for at least one fiscal year by the Sept. 1 deadline.

The $50,000 prize pool will include one grand prize of $15,000 and a runner-up prize of $5,000 for each competition category. There also will be a $10,000 Five Star Bank People's Choice Minority and Women Small Business Award. Winners and finalists participate in the Allstate's Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Program.

The contest is sponsored by 43North, the City of Buffalo and New York Business Development Corp./Excelsior Growth Fund.

Applications can be submitted online at

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