21Aug Local Entrepreneurs Invited to Enter the Forge Competition by Wendy Weichenthal (Marion) If you’d like to join new Marion businesses including Attaboys, the Explore-It-Torium Children’s Museum, and the Social Sip, Marion Technical College invites you to enter The Forge competition. This small business accelerator provides free business classes from Marion Technical College to all competitors. The entrepreneurs who complete the classes will compete for $2,500 in seed money on November 12, 2019 at MTC at 6:30 p.m. Similar to “Shark Tank,” this small business competition started in 2017 as a project of the Leadership Marion team. More than 30 local entrepreneurs have participated in The Forge, sparking more than 30 new jobs at those new companies, including: • Attaboys Comfort Cuisine • The Art Center (opening soon) • The Explore-It-Torium Children’s Museum • The Heirloom Studio • The Main Squeeze • Social Sip • Presidential Cleaning Service The founders of Attaboys and the founder of The Art Center (center) proudly declare they are MarionMade! Robert Turner, one of the founders of Attaboys Comfort Cuisine, competed in The Forge and recommend other entrepreneurs take advantage of this opportunity. “Without a doubt, I recommend entering The Forge. The teacher, Scott Hughes, was really helpful,” Turner said. “It’s always good to have other people’s insight on something you want to do. Attaboys is going really well. If people want to start a business off right, you should enter The Forge.” Several competitors, including Turner’s spouse, have already signed up. Classes for The Forge competitors will be held on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Health Technologies Center at MTC from Sept. 17 through Oct. 29. MTC Business Faculty Scott Hughes, MBA, brings his 20 years of experience to his students. “It is exciting to see local entrepreneurs take their knowledge and passion and open companies in downtown Marion,” said Lars Olson, one of the founding members of The Forge. “If you’ve been thinking about opening a business, this is a great step forward to make it a reality.” The classes cover developing a business plan, cash flow projection, financing, record keeping, marketing and advertising. A second set of six free classes will be held this spring for The Forge graduates and any small businesses who want to expand. Graduates of the The Forge class of 2017 smile as Cindy Binns, winner of the competition, receives her $2,500 prize. from Lars Olson. Faculty Scott Hughes and Matt Carbary from the Marion Chamber of Commerce look on. “Being a small business owner requires diverse skills, from marketing to accounting to human resources. This is a great chance to learn new skills and polish your business plans,” said Dr. Ryan McCall, president of MTC. “We invite all local entrepreneurs to enter The Forge competition.” Hughes is excited to see what new ideas will be brought to the competition this year. “It is great to see the creativity and ingenuity of local entrepreneurs and to help them turn an idea into reality,” Hughes said. There is no fee to enter. Just go to mtc.edu/forge/ to enter the competition or call Michael Augenstein, MTC Job Development Coordinator, at 740-386-4138.