Article provided by CAP Services, Inc.
Office Direct will receive a $1,000 cash prize, free marketing assessment, mentor ship through the Packers Mentor-Protégé Program, and referrals for services specific to the business’s needs.
“There are many business plan and business start-up contests available to new entrepreneurs so we wanted to find a way to support and celebrate growing businesses in our area” said Laura West, CAP’s Director of Business Development.
Office Direct sells new and used office furniture and offers customers the option of buying pre-assembled products from their retail showroom or getting customized office furniture that fits their specific needs. Office Direct has established connections in the office furniture industry that allow it to offer competitive prices, transparency in the ordering process and reduced lead times on customized furniture. The business plans to expand the area it serves and open additional locations across the state.
“We worked really hard to grow our customer base with great service and quality products,” said Cole Corrigan, Office Direct’s owner. “From the response and word-of-mouth referrals by our clients, business really took off, and as a happy result, we’ve had to hire more staff. We’ve come a long way in a short period of time – especially considering we started in the back seat of my car.”
Any business within CAP’s five county region – Marquette, Outagamie, Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara – operating their business for two years or more with plans to expand their sales footprint was eligible to apply.
“I was really surprised we were chosen,” said Corrigan. “It’s humbling. On top of being a good business, we’ve always tried to give back to the community, and thanks to this kind of recognition, now we can continue to do so.”
Contestants completed a questionnaire about their current business operations and expansion plans. Applications were scored by five judges with economic development expertise. Four finalists advanced to a second round of scoring where they presented their business expansion plans in person, giving the judges a chance to ask questions and learn more about the business’s expansion plans.
Contest partners include Fox Valley Technical College, Venture Centre, 1 Million Cups, Fox Cities Regional Partnership, UW-Oshkosh Small Business Development Center, City of New London, New London Economic Development, City of Waupaca, Waupaca Economic Development, New London Area Chamber of Commerce and Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The connections made between contest finalists and the contest partners have been extremely valuable,” said West, “We’ve received such a positive reaction to this contest from contestants and our partners, we’re looking at making it an annual event.”