Valdosta Daily Times

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January 31, 2014

Chamber of Commerce holds annual awards luncheon

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce held its annual membership meeting Thursday to present service awards and announce the winner of a business plan competition.

The chamber’s 102nd annual membership meeting began with food, prayer and an introduction by outgoing chairman Jay Prince, who then introduced Jeff Hanson to announce the winner of the Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition.

The year-long competition helped develop several potential area businesses through workshops and rigorous judging to receive $10,000 in capital funding. Four startups made it to the final stage of the competition: 21st Century Telecommunications, MaePolly’s Cake Company, Monarch Hair Solutions and Guardian In-Home Care.

Hanson said the business plan competition was sought to address problems that face new businesses like the “lack of nurturing and the lack of capital.”

“The business plan competition is designed to address both of these needs with the goal of converting the great ideas held by the entrepreneurs in our community and helping them formulate a realistic business plan to bring those ideas to life,” said Hanson.

Hanson announced Angela Roark and her business, Monarch Hair Solutions, as the winner of the competition.

“This has been one of the most awesome experiences of my life,” said Roark. “The whole experience and the journey-just wow. I’m still spinning.”

Monarch Hair Solutions plans to provide cranial prosthetics for anyone who has hair loss problems, from thinning hair to complete loss due to chemotherapy or genetics.

 Roark plans to use the $10,000 capital infusion to secure a building for her business along with special machinery to create molds for custom made hairpieces. Roark also hopes to host several lunch and learn events soon.

“I’m excited to bring something new and much needed to this community,” said Roark.

Prince’s last comments as chairmen touted the accomplishments of the chamber in the past year, Incoming chairman Carl Holley began his term as 2014 chairman by thanking Prince for his hard work over the past year and presenting him with an award of gratitude.

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