Angela Heath
Angela Heath, creator of the Boom Conference (Courtesy of TKCIncorporated)

An upcoming contest will allow entrepreneurs 45 and older to pitch their business ideas for a chance to win $5,000 to make that idea become a reality.

The deadline to pitch an idea for the competition, sponsored by the 2018 Boom Conference in partnership with AARP, is April 30.

Two prizes of $5,000 each, compliments of AARP, will be awarded to a startup/early-stage company and to a growth company.

The competition rules define startup/early-stage companies as those that are pre-revenue and have a product or service still in the testing or development stage, but isn’t market-ready. Growth companies are defined as a post-revenue company.

Pitch competitions for startup entrepreneurs are plentiful in recent years, largely influenced by the popular ABC reality TV show “Shark Tank.” However, they are often geared toward millennials and usually focus on the tech industry.

“I did not see a lot of pitch events targeting the seasoned entrepreneur,” said Angela Heath, a career development coach, successful author and creator of the annual Boom Conference. “Data shows that mature people are starting businesses and are more often successful because they bring life experience and connections to business development ideas.”

Heath said she is excited about AARP’s involvement with the competition.

“The public knows that AARP is the premier organization for older people,” she said. “The association is now in the forefront to support older people with a variety of resources to grow business ideas.”

Proposals for the competition will be evaluated by a panel of successful entrepreneurs, and finalists will present their business ideas before the panel at the 2018 Boom Conference on June 7. Two winners will be selected by a scoring system in which 75 percent of the score will come from the panel and 25 percent will come from conference attendees.

In addition to the cash prizes, winners will receive guidance to refine their business ideas.

“Winners also will have access to business coaching from successful entrepreneurs,” Heath said. “You can’t put a dollar amount on that kind of business advice.”

The conference, now in its second year, will take place at the Silver Spring Civic Center in downtown Silver Spring, Md. Contest semifinalists will be notified by May 3 and finalists by May 31.

Criteria for entering the competition, along with other conference information, can be found at

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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