Six Acres Farm Brewery (the eventual winner), Moth & Flame Base Camp and North 40 Clover have been selected as the three finalists for the 2021 Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition, it was announced by Austin Wheelock, chair of the NGI steering committee.
On November 12, each finalist will give a 20-minute presentation on their business plan in-person to the panel of local judges. On November 16, a luncheon and awards ceremony announcing the winner will be held at The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, Oswego.
“November 16 will mark the culmination of the 2021 Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition,” Wheelock said. “This year’s finalists have worked extremely hard to position themselves to win a share of prize money and business services totaling $90,000 to be used towards developing their business ventures here in Oswego County.”
Finalist Six Acres Farm Brewing, founded by Jenna Behling and head brewer Denyel Busch in Mexico, NY, is the first niche craft brewing company of its kind to develop fruit infused beers with locally grown fruit and proprietary methods to create naturally full flavored fruit ale beverages. Already producing 13 unique recipes, the business would utilize the NGI funds to scale up production, acquire canning equipment for distribution and develop a tasting room on-site. The founders see a great opportunity to capitalize on growing the fledgling wine and craft beverage industry in Oswego County with this business and their ambitious future plans.
Finalist Moth & Flame Basecamp, a unique concept “glamping” business developed by co-founders Amanda McLoughlin and Paula Barreto, would allow visitors to stay, play and support local business in the beautiful outdoor landscapes of Oswego County while having a unique and secure stay and experience in a vintage recreational vehicle, airstream and eclectic structure glampground. It would utilize social media and technology booking platforms to market to the quickly growing target segment of “glampers.” If funded, this business would develop distinctive fully furnished basecamps in a scenic location that would complement the growing outdoor recreation and event tourism industry in Oswego County.
Finalist North 40 Clover: Onsite Hydraulic Hose Fabrication & Repair, a start-up created by James Macklen from Lacona, would utilize the NGI prize to expand his mobile hydraulic repair and fabrication business that services many industries including manufacturing, mining, road plowing, agriculture and logging operations around Oswego County and the North Country. This mobile service is especially needed in rural areas where extended downtime can be catastrophic to business. Macklen envisions several strategic opportunities to expand in this industry that the NGI prize would allow him to accomplish.
This year’s Next Great Idea competition received 24 submissions with innovative ideas ranging from advanced manufacturing to craft brewing to specialized services and tourism. These ideas were all from local and regional entrepreneurs who would like to develop or expand their business in Oswego County. To be eligible to drawdown funding and services, the participants are required to use the funding to start or expand their business in Oswego County.
Some of the anticipated outcomes from this year’s and future NGI competitions include, but are not limited to: developing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurism in Oswego County; improving the quality of life for the community by bringing innovative and needed businesses and services to Oswego County; fighting the ‘brain drain’ by encouraging the best and brightest to stay here; creating new job opportunities and markets; and expanding the tax base.
The cash and business services prizes were raised in partnership with local companies, charitable foundations and public and private institutions that see the importance in making an investment in Oswego County’s economic future. Financial and in-kind sponsors include: Richard S. Shineman Foundation, Operation Oswego County, Advance Media NY, C&S Companies, SUNY Oswego, Small Business Development Center at SUNY Oswego, Pathfinder Bank, National Grid, Centerstate CEO, Greater Oswego Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Broadwell Hospitality Group, Chirello Advertising and the Oswego County Business Magazine.
The Next Great Idea web site, www.oswegocounty.org/NGI, includes an overview of the event, a competition timeline, guidelines, details on the $90,000 value in total prizes, sponsors, partners and contact information. In addition, the cash prizes can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to 10 times their value in partnership with local banks, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the cities of Oswego and Fulton community development offices, the U.S. Small Business Administration, New York Business Development Corporation and other economic development agencies.