Published Sat, Apr 21, 2012 9:23 pm Dateline
Updated Mon, Apr 23, 2012 10:03 am
The Athens County Economic Development Council's Business Remixed has launched a nationwide campaign to attract new businesses and young entrepreneurs to Athens County.
"Start It Up Athens," launched Friday evening with Ohio University's Innovation Center, will provide a $10,000 grant to an existing Athens County business wishing to expand or a new business who intends to open in the county by 2013.
The contest also includes a $5,000 story telling competition, where past, present and future Athens area residents will be challenged to tell the best Athens County story.
"The goal is to attract business to Athens County and to do so by telling the story of Athens County, and who better to tell it than those of us who love it here and live here?" said Todd Shelton, director of Athens Business Remixed.
Sara Marrs, marketing & communication coordinator of Athens Business Remixed, said both competitions go hand-in-hand and will show the true spirit of Athens through the eyes of residents.
“We’re hoping it will light a fire to what is already here. We have a group of very entrepreneurial, bright individuals here in the county and there’s barriers sometimes,” she said. “If we can offer a push, then we’ve done what we’ve set out to do.”
The competition was annouced to mark the beginning of StartUp Weekend, a 54-hour event focused on building web and mobile applications that could help to form a business.
Justin Taylor, a freshman at Indiana's Wabash College, said he is starting a college social networking admissions site and came to the announcement to receive direction from people in attendance.
The weekend brings together people with different skill sets, like Taylor, who are primarily software developers, graphic designers and business people to build applications and develop a commercial case around them.
Athens Business Remixed is committed to increasing economic opportunity in Athens County by encouraging entrepreneurship, recruiting new businesses, and helping existing businesses grow.
“We want to change the world’s perception of what [Athens County] is. Because those of us that live, work, and play here know that it is so much more. We want to capture that,” Marrs said.