It’s time for edg3 FUND small-business competition

Last year’s winner was Port Orchard’s Home Made Cafe.

PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap Bank’s 2018 edg3 FUND small-business competition begins its month-long online open application period July 2-July 31.

The edg3 FUND (rhymes with hedge fund — the “3” is silent) is the bank’s annual competition that recognizes entrepreneurs who judges believe are dedicated to contributing to regional growth economically, socially and environmentally.

Last year, Home Made Cafe of Port Orchard and its co-owners and operators, Suanne Martin-Smith and Paul Robinson, won the votes of an independent panel of judges, who awarded them a $20,000 edg3 FUND grant from Kitsap Bank. They used the money to upgrade their commercial kitchen with a new cooktop, expanded pantry and a walk-in freezer.

Entrepreneurs and small-business owners interested in entering the competition can go to the bank’s website, to complete the application process online. Contestants are asked to submit an online application and a two-minute video that describes their business and makes a case for how the $20,000 grand prize will take their business “to the next level,” organizers said.

After the application period ends, semifinalists will be chosen, with public voting taking place through Kitsap Bank’s website from Sept. 17-28. The public will help select the top five finalists, who will present their pitches at a live event during Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 15 at the Kitsap Conference Center at Harborside in Bremerton.

An independent panel of judges will determine the winner, organizers said. The competition is open to for-profit small businesses based in Western Washington that have “a positive economic, social and environmental impact on the communities Kitsap Bank serves,” the bank reported in a news release.

For the third year in a row, an additional $5,000 cash prize, the Community edg3 Award, will be given to one business selected from the semifinalist pool that, in the judges’ opinion, best embodies the spirit of community, based on their submitted application and video.

The awards will be presented at the edge3 FUND Live event Nov. 15.

Kitsap Bank, with its headquarters in Port Orchard, has 20 locations throughout Western Washington.