Five top finalists in the Harvey L. Golubock Bradford Business Competition will be competing this Thursday night for $20,000 in prize money.

The Bradford Area Alliance is championing this new business competition to seed and support the formation of new startups and new ventures of existing businesses. This competition is part of an overall strategy by the Bradford Area Alliance in economic gardening, an entrepreneurial approach to economic development that seeks to grow the local economy from within.

Finalists for the competition include Stephanie Behan with Bright Beginnings, a brand new daycare and preschool facility in Foster Township with an infant room, a toddler room, and a preschool program; Stephanie Martin and Ben Grice with South Kendall Hydroponics, an existing agri-business currently offering hydroponic lettuce looking to expand their locally grown hydroponic company with an additional greenhouse; Tony Dubetsky with 4D Countertops, a new, full-time business that fabricates and installs custom countertops and will expand to include refacing and refinishing kitchen cabinets; Nick Foster with SafeTech Fire Protection, a service business that sells, services, and tests fire extinguishers and commercial kitchen fire suppression systems expanding to offer kitchen hood cleaning and safety consulting services; and Stephen York with York Global LLC, a new, eco-friendly agri-business with a “Streeteaters” mobile healthy food service truck, an integrated micro-farming solution, and a locally delivery system.

“The response to this competition demonstrates that a strong spirit of entrepreneurism exists in our community,” said Carolyn Newhouse, executive director of the Bradford Area Alliance.

“We started with 21 initial applications and now have our five top finalists. The finalist judges for Thursday night’s LIVE Pitch Event over Zoom have a tough job! We are excited at the opportunity to award this prize money as an entry-point for new opportunities, as a ‘Spark to Fuel Your Business.’

She continued, “This prize money is available due to the generous financial support of the Blaisdell Foundation and Halloran Philanthropies.” A special “Harvey L. Golubock Bradford Business Competition” fund has been established through the McKean County Community Foundation to fund future competitions.

The finalists have worked hard to get to this point. In order to qualify, all finalists developed their business plans with assistance through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) located in Clarion. A team of early stage judges used a detailed rubric to objectively score and determine the top five finalists. These judges were selected locally for their business acumen and their passion for the community.

The playing field now gets reset when the finalist judges score the Top 5 based on their combined business plan, “Shark Tank”-like pitch and responses to the judge’s questions. The live event will also incorporate guest speakers and a video highlighting the positive aspects of living in our community. The winner will be announced by Bradford Mayor, James McDonald.

The competition will begin online this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to register for this free event and watch the competition live. Registration is available by clicking on “Register” at the following Eventbrite link. An email with instructions on how to log on to Zoom will then be emailed to registrants.