Small Business Competition Accepting Applications

Continuing its mission to improve the local economy by developing and supporting small businesses, The Hands Up Lake County Small Business Competition is accepting applications for 2023. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2023.

This year’s prize money has increased – from $100,000 in 2022 to $120,000 in 2023. A total of 8 small businesses and startups will compete for prizes ranging from $30,000 to $5,000.

Except for prior year winners, all local small businesses or startups, including past applicants, are encouraged to apply.

The competition has two categories: one for established businesses and one for startup businesses. In the Startup Business category, a total of $25,000 will be awarded; in the Established Business category, a total of $90,000 will be awarded. In addition, $5,000 is set aside for team awards.

The competition is part of Maryann Schmid and Olga Martin Steele’s vision to develop strong, local businesses in rural Lake County, California. “The goal is to improve the local economy, a few small businesses at a time. Small businesses are the heartbeat of rural economies such as ours and an essential part of our local economy,” Olga Steele says.

Maryann Schmid adds, “When we have a good foundation of small businesses, it spreads to the entire community. Donations from small and large businesses – the Cities of Clearlake and Lakeport, the County of Lake, as well as the banking community, civic organizations, and individuals – make all of this work; we couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

Even though the prizes are generous, the competition focuses on more than just awards. Each contestant will attend a one-day training and pitch lab to help develop and present their business plan to a panel of local businessmen and women.

In its 4th year, the competition begins with the application review of all applications received by the May 31 deadline. In past years, from thirty-four to seventy-two applications have been received. In 2023, twenty businesses will be selected to proceed to the training on June 27 and a mini-competition on July 27 – from which eight businesses and entrepreneurs will be selected to advance to the final competition on October 15.

Only online applications received by the May 31 deadline will be considered. All the information pertaining to the competition is available on the website,

For more information, contact Olga Martin Steele at 916-849-8170 or by email at

A Community Member

We always welcome community input. If you have a press release, event, or idea you would like to share with The Bloom's readers, send us a note.

error: Content is protected !!

Your Cart

QTY : 1
$18.23 (incl. tax)