James and Nina Whiddon

James and Nina Whiddon won the grand prize at the business plan pitch competition.

Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center recently put on a start-up bootcamp for 10 aspiring Clatsop County entrepreneurs, ending in a rapid-fire business plan pitch competition.

The competition winners, Nina and James Whiddon, were awarded the top prize of $1,000 from Wauna Credit Union. The credit union also provided financial support to the development center to produce the program.

The bootcamp included four educational sessions and each entrepreneur partnered with a professional business advisor to develop their business plans.

Nina Whiddon, a technical writer and small business owner, and her husband, James Whiddon, a pastry chef of 25 years, will put their prize money toward start-up costs for a new donut shop.

“Right now, the area only has one donut shop between Astoria and Seaside, and a lot of people love donuts,” James Whiddon said in a statement. “That’s something we can bring more of to the North Coast – we have a vision to provide hot, fresh, scratch-made donuts for locals, with early hours for commuters and convenient curbside pick-up. We’ve learned a lot from the SBDC workshop, but most importantly it gave us more confidence to keep going with our dream.”

Other bootcamp participants presented plans for new food products, retail businesses, e-commerce applications, commercial real estate development and more. Each of them received a $200 grant toward their start-up costs from Clatsop Economic Development Resources and the Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District. The business plan review panel included Clatsop SBDC director Kevin Leahy, associate director Jessica Newhall, program development specialist Meyer Freeman and Sarah Lu Heath of Col-Pac.

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