EnterPrize Challenge keeps Amarillo's economy healthy and strong


n these tough economic times, it's the mom and pop shops that keep our local economy thriving.

Amarillo's Economic Development Corporation and West Texas A&M University Enterprise Center play a huge role in making sure those entrepreneurs have the assistance to startup.

"WT Enterprise Center develops entrepreneurs to be business incubators. We really are the center for entrepreneur development," said David Terry, Enterprise Center, Executive Director.

It's that time of year again for the EnterPrize Challenge.

Seven finalist were chosen Wednesday to present their business plan to a panel of judges, who are not affiliated with the AEDC or West Texas A&M University.

Each business vying for the opportunity to win a share of a $500,000 grant from the AEDC.

From auditing and consulting services, to homemade sauce, to security, the finalists have a number of services to offer.

The companies include: Waypoint Advisory Services, Wheeler Foggers, Fanelli's Finest, Confluence Security Group, Brush Eaters, Tascosa Building Products, Amarillo Electric Services.

"The opportunity the AEDC offered us is amazing. We're going to get potential startup funds which will enable us to accelerate our marketing plan," said Terry Wheeler, Wheeler Foggers.

That's the idea, to invest in a company that will in turn, invest in Amarillo and keep our economy healthy and stable.

"They're talking about their business, they're talking about their product about the future growth of the opportunity and what that means for Amarillo. This is really an Economic development Challenge. So we're talking about growing new jobs, bringing in new revenue," said Terry.

"We expect to have 14 full time employees by the end of 2014. And we expect to have a local impact of our total earnings in excess of one million dollars. We intend to purchase everything local that we can," said Jason Wheeler, Wheeler Foggers.

This is the 17th year for the challenge.

In that time, 52 companies have benefited from the grant. 327 jobs have been created and $27 million have come into the Amarillo economy.

The judges will select the award recipients, and the AEDC will present the awards at the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge Award Ceremony April 2nd.