Cash Prizes will be Awarded to Six MD-Based Business Owners

Rockville, MD, May 4, 2016 – Today, the Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) and Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) announced their 13th annual StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition is open for entries. To qualify, the business must be at least 51% woman-owned, less than three years old, and located in Maryland. The application fee is $35, and complete business plans must be submitted electronically by Friday, May 20, 2016 at 3 p.m. EST. 

StartRight! is a regional business plan competition that was established in 2004 by REDI to encourage women entrepreneurs to write their business plans, leading to stronger companies. In 2013, MWBC, an initiative of REDI, assumed responsibility for StartRight!

“When we help women entrepreneurs develop a business plan that will result in their long-term growth, stability, and financial independence, we all win,” said Kiesha Haughton, Managing Director of the Maryland Women’s Business Center.  She added, “Last year, 41 completed business plans were reviewed, and we want more women to bet on themselves and their businesses.”

The annual competition is supported with $13,000 in cash prizes provided by sponsors  Shulman Rogers, Morgan Stanley, TriBridge Partners, Maryland Department of Commerce, Snyder Cohn, Revere Bank, EagleBank, Intelligent Office and Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation.  In-kind sponsors include SameGrain, Allegra, Clark Concepts, and Women’s Business Report as seen on News Channel 8.

The women who join the competition receive more than the opportunity to win a cash prize – they also receive valuable coaching and feedback on their business plan.

In April 2011, Aliyah Hardy sought business advice and start-up guidance from REDI after identifying a Rockville-based space to open Pilates Center of Rockville. REDI also encouraged Hardy to enter the StartRight! competition, and she ended up winning the $5,000 grand prize.

“When you launch a business, you are tightly watching your budget, so the cash prize came at the right time. As I celebrate my fifth anniversary, I’m equally grateful for the invaluable feedback on my plan and early press I received from the competition, which clients still reference today,” said Aliyah Hardy, Founder ofPilates Center of Rockville.

For submission guidelines and to enter your plan, visit:

About Maryland Women’s Business Center

Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) was established in 2010 as a program of the nonprofit Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) to help people throughout the region start and build successful women-owned enterprises that are positioned for long-term growth. MWBC conducts specialized training, offers individual business counseling, and provides unique resources.  Our special initiatives include a Childcare Business Development Program and StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram ,LinkedIn, and Twitter.

About Rockville Economic Development, Inc.

Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) is a public-private partnership formed in 1997 by the City of Rockville, Maryland to strengthen and broaden the city’s economic base through business entrepreneurship, expansion, retention, and recruitment programs. REDI offers guidance and support to help businesses at all stages of growth launch, locate and expand in Rockville.  For more information, contact 301-315-8096 or visit