July 30, 2009

Frank Ciatto and Joe Walker participate in DC Economic Partnership business plan competition

2 min

The Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) recently hosted the PremierPlan Business Plan Competition, a DC-based business competition with a $100,000 venture capital prize. Venable Business Transactions Group attorneys Frank Ciatto and Joe Walker donated extensive time and effort to the success of this project.

As part of Venable's contribution, the Business Transactions Group will provide $10,000 in pro bono legal services to Affinity Lab, the Adams Morgan based business cowork venture that took first place in the competition. The donated legal counsel will likely include contract review and counsel on investments and financial structure. Both Venable attorneys participated in educational workshops for the competitors and served as judges on the 20-person panel.

"It's challenging to find corporate-based pro bono opportunities, so the prospect of providing support to aspiring entrepreneurs represented a perfect fit for our group," said Ciatto.

The Washington, DC Economic Partnership's PremierPlan Business Plan Competition is an annual program developed on behalf of the District of Columbia to support District-based entrepreneurs. The initiative, administered WDCEP's BusinessPremier program, is funded by participants in the District of Columbia CAPCO Program and is held in collaboration with the DC Coalition for Capital. This was the inaugural year of the competition, which was developed to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation within the District of Columbia.

Over 40 DC businesses participated in a two month qualifying process and four local businesses were selected as finalists in the oral presentation competition, the final stage in the business plan competition. Each finalist was given 30 minutes to pitch their business idea before a panel of judges which included venture capitalists, business owners, elected officials, government officials, educators and graduate business students.