2018 SlingShot Polk

Lakeland, FL – Innovators in Polk County have a chance to win cash and mentoring from experts, thanks to a competition spearheaded by local educational and business leaders.
In Florida, small businesses represent almost 99% of the employers in the state. That is why in 2015, local educational and business leaders collaborated to create a business plan competition called SlingShot Polk to create opportunities for Polk County’s young entrepreneurs to develop and fund their business ventures.

 SlingShot Polk is now positioning itself to solve “Polk’s Biggest Problems” every year! Our goal is to leverage our young, creative, and talented entrepreneurs by engaging them with private and civic leaders to solve problems that matter to Polk County and its residents. Our hope is that through this effort we will achieve actionable steps for change as well as an increased retainment of our best and brightest in Polk County. SlingShot Polk is a contest designed to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs by soliciting new product ideas from students enrolled in a Polk County middle school or high school (or homeschool equivalent) or a bachelor’s or master’s degree program at a college or university located in Polk County and entrepreneurs under the age of 30 as of entry date.

 In 2017, more than 100 Polk students entered SlingShot Polk to present their business ideas relating to STEM. Six finalists received a combined $6,000 in cash prizes. One winner used his earnings to purchase a 3D printer to help fulfill orders for his business that sells personalized metallic items. Another team has steadily worked to improve their member-based limited liability science and technology firm that works to develop and deploy advanced technologies and life science solutions that help citrus growers and operators address citrus greening in an effective manner.

“Slingshot Polk is an excellent opportunity to support young entrepreneurs in Polk County. I am excited to see the fresh ideas and concepts being presented by this talented group of emerging business leaders,” says Sean Malott, President/CEO, Central Florida Development Council, Inc.

Entries must include a 1-page business summary to be submitted online at www.SlingShotPolk.com. Ten semifinalists will be selected to receive mentoring and present their plans at a final event on Monday, April 16, 2018, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the Gram Parsons Derry Down, 297 5th St NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881. First, second, and third place winners in two categories will receive cash prizes. Those interested in entering the competition can find helpful information at www.SlingShotPolk.com.

SlingShot Polk is an initiative of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and is sponsored and supported by: Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College, Bill and Dena Rhey, Centennial Bank, Central Florida Development Council, Inc., Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A., Heacock Insurance, Main Street Winter Haven, Joe and Kim Childs, Polk County Public Schools, Polk Vision, Saint Leo University Lakeland Education Center, Southeastern University, and Webber International University.


 Since 1921, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce has served as an advocate for business. The Chamber is a 501 (c) (6) not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper. The Lakeland Chamber is the largest Chamber of Commerce in Polk County with more than 1,400 investor businesses. The Lakeland Chamber continues to be an integral component of the Lakeland community by offering a wide variety of programs and initiatives that positively impact the economic vitality and quality of life in our region. Our investors capitalize on the contacts, resources, and support provided by the Chamber.

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