FW Business Plan Competition 2019

Fort Worth Business Plan Competition Winners Shawn and Alicia Rizzo of Kraken Motorsports (center) stand with Brenda Hicks-Sorensen of the City of Fort Worth; Shannon Watt of Frost Bank; Cheryl Jones of the City of Fort Worth; and Ed Riefenstahl, chairman of the Accelerate DFW Foundation.

In the choice between automobiles, virtual reality and leadership/fundraising, it was the automobile that took the checkered flag at the 2019 Fort Worth Business Plan competition.

Kraken Motorsports was announced as the winner of the 2019 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition on Thursday evening after pitching their business to a panel of judges at the UNT Health Science Center.

Shawn and Alicia Rizzo, owners of Kraken Motorsports, received the grand prize of $10,000 donated by Frost Bank, in addition to a variety of co-working access, professional development coaching, marketing opportunities and more from The Alternative Board of Fort Worth, Accelerate DFW, Ensemble Coworking, Solomon Bruce Consulting LLC, Fort Worth Business Press, Jim Austin Online, The Metro Report, Rising Tide Initiative, and all three of Fort Worth's Chambers of Commerce. The total value of the grand prize package was $56,782.

Kraken Motorsports is an automotive performance shop that bridges the gap between the car you drive and the car of your dreams. During their seven-minute pitch to the judges, the husband-and-wife team discussed the culture of their business, and the fact that Kraken Motorsports isn't just an auto shop — they're a community.

"This is the market for us to be in," said Shawn Rizzo. "The competition has been an exciting journey, and we're looking forward to growing our business and doing big things here in DFW."

"Fort Worth's entrepreneurs are all about independence and individuality, and that's really what car culture is all about too — people coming together to celebrate a common cause," said Alicia Rizzo.

The evening's second place winner was Veena Somareddy of Neuro Rehab VR. She received $5,000 in cash from Frost Bank, and a variety of in-kind services that brought her total prize package $31,837.

Neuro Rehab VR is a virtual reality healthcare startup aimed at building virtual/augmented reality therapy exercises for patients with neurological disorders. During her pitch, Veena spoke about Neuro Rehab VR's commitment to bringing down the cost of therapy, making it more efficient, and helping Neuro Rehab VR's patients get back to living a healthy, independent life.

Third place went to Michelle Crim of Dynamic Development Strategies LLC, who won $3,000 cash and in-kind services that brought her prize package total to $11,997. Dynamic Development Strategies is an organization that provides interim leadership and strategic fundraising services to nonprofits.

The Business Plan Competition finale was presided over by Carlo Capua, who won last year's competition along with co-owner Cortney Gumbleton of Locavore, a local kitchen rental and event venue business. Carlo is also co-owner of Z's Cafe and Catering.

Special remarks were made during the finale by Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, assistant director of economic development for the City of Fort Worth, and Ed Riefenstahl, chairman of the Accelerate DFW Foundation.

The competition was presented by Frost Bank. The Fort Worth Business Press was the media sponsor for the event.

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