Applications are being accepted for the second annual Richland Idea Audition. The Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development, Richland County Foundation and several other organizations announced the news Thursday with a press conference at the Chamber's office. "We wanted to put the spotlight on entrepreneurship as an option in this community. There's a really strong support system here," said Chamber CEO and president Jodie Perry, signaling to about a dozen other people sitting around a conference room table.The hope is through events like the Richland Idea Audition, participants will connect with the community's resources, even if their businesses aren't awarded a prize. "There's a set of resources to support grassroots entrepreneurs that exists in Richland County that does not exist in a lot of similar communities," said Cindy Wood, director of development and community relations for The Ohio State University-Mansfield. Richland Idea Audition will be Sept. 17 at OSU-Mansfield in Founders Hall. The focus of the pitch contest is to support new business, help entrepreneurs get a new business off the ground and introduce entrepreneurs to the community for support.The entrepreneurs will have four minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win a top prize of $5,000. The second-place idea will receive $2,500 and third place $1,000. Those who make it through the preliminary round will pitch during the final round of judging to a live audience.Last year's inaugural event, drew more than 30 pitches, of which six presented in the final round. A group that pitched an app called “My Health, My Mammo” won first place. "We were really excited for year one, and we spent a long time planning for that, and the turn out, in terms of the number of applications, I think, far exceeded what any of us hoped it would," Perry said."So we were really excited about that. It seemed like people were interested and ready to start dreaming of what they could do after pitching their business," Perry said.Following the event, several of the finalist went on to launch their businesses, including recent Ashland University graduate Ivan Wortman. One of the six semi-finalists, he pitched a startup selling arm slings for individuals with arm or shoulder injuries to use in the shower. Richland Idea Audition alum Amy Hiner has gone on to pitch her start up, called Gate Genie, at other pitch events like Sundown Rundown. "It's a very good thing for entrepreneurs, that they have to have those opportunities to express themselves," said Bob Cohen of Braintree. "I think it's our hope that these events are all compatible with each other and that one could lead to another."The partners associated with the Richland Idea Audition are the Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development, Richland County Foundation, the Ohio State University at Mansfield, Braintree Business Development Center, Small Business Development Center, SCORE, North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC), Community Improvement Corporation of Shelby, North Central State College, Idea Works and Downtown Mansfield Inc.The prizes are sponsored by the Richland County Foundation. Buy Now"We all know entrepreneurs are at the heart and soul of this community, so we want to help support that," said the Foundation's chief advancement officer Maura Teynor.Complete details, rules and an application are online at The deadline to apply is Monday, July 22.

Source: Applications open for 2019 Richland Idea Audition; Braintree is a partnering organization URL: