BEST Business Plan Contest Announces Winners SCORE Counselors Judged Entries; Contest Conducted by Ford and DiversityInc.

Washington, D.C.—The winners of the “Building Entrepreneurial Success Today” (BEST) business plan competition have been announced by Ford Motor Company. Volunteer counselors from SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” served as judges in the contest, conducted by Ford and DiversityInc., selecting the winners from a pool of more than 1,200 entrants.  

John Powers of West Hartford, Conn., was awarded the $50,000 grand prize for developing a business plan for “ReCONNstruction Center,” a non-profit retail store that sells discounted recycled building materials. Two runners-up each received $25,000 for their business plans: Melissa Barlow of Cerritos, Calif., for “Razzmatazz,” an educational entertainment center for children and families, and Robert Mazur of Plymouth, Michigan for “B. A. Maze, Inc.,” a wholesaler of retail products specializing in the design, marketing and sales of simple-to-use products for the elderly.

SCORE CEO Ken Yancey says, “SCORE congratulates the winners of the BEST contest on their innovative and inspired business plans.” Yancey adds, “This contest gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to turn their ideas into the next generation of successful businesses.”

In addition to the prize money, to be used toward implementation of the business concepts, the winners can request assistance from a SCORE counselor to provide mentoring to help grow their business. SCORE conducts more than 300,000 free business counseling sessions in person and online every year.

Since 1964, the SCORE Association has assisted more than 6.5 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 10,500 volunteer business counselors serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For information about starting or operating a small business, call

1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Or visit SCORE on the Web at www.score.org.