Pasco County entrepreneurs who have hoped for help launching a business have a shot to get it.

The SMARTstart Challenge is a competition being sponsored by the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce, the Pasco Economic Development Council, the city of New Port Richey Economic Development Department and SCORE. It is inspired in part by ABC's Shark Tank.

"If you've got a great idea for a business or you've got a business that needs support, consider applying for the SMARTstart challenge," said Chip Wichmanowski, president of the west Pasco chamber.

From applications received by Nov. 28, 10 will be picked to present a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges.

"That's 10 businesses that we hope will be better businesses (afterward) because they're going to get feedback," Wichmanowski said.

The 10 will give presentations in December and, from them, three finalists will be chosen. Each will be mentored by members of the organizations sponsoring the competition. The finalists will present their plans Jan. 29, during Business Development Week, and a winner will be selected.

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