Whanganui entrepreneurs have a chance to win a $10,000 prize to help them develop their product or service.
Entries have opened for the Dragons' Den-style competition, Innovate Whanganui, which pits entrepreneurial minds against real-life challenges.
Whanganui & Partners is facilitating Innovate Whanganui in partnership with The Factory, a business and innovation hub that organises the Innovate competition in Palmerston North.
The Factory chief executive Dave Craig said Innovate's structure would benefit participating entrepreneurs, regardless of the result.
About 30 local entrepreneurs have attended Innovate workshops to learn more about the competition and Whanganui & Partners business strategic lead Tim Easton is encouraging anyone with a big idea to enter and find out if their concept might take off.
"There are plenty of people nurturing great ideas but lacking the platform they need to test and refine them," Easton said.
The workshops illustrated how diverse and driven Whanganui's entrepreneurs were, he said.
"There were people who had years of thought and consideration backing their plans and others who had been struck by inspiration but had yet to act on it; none of the entrepreneurs we heard from had invalid ideas and they really inspired us to think in new ways about what is possible here."
Craig said it was the person behind the great idea who mattered.
"Tenacity, endurance and self-belief are at the heart of every entrepreneur."
A team of mentors would select the top 20 Whanganui candidates to attend a workshop to learn how to effectively pitch an idea and what to expect when the judges start grilling, Easton said.
Mentors will provide guidance and feedback and help the competitors recognise the flaws and strengths in their plans.
In-person pitches will happen next, with groups of four-to-five candidates pitching to groups of mentors.
The mentors will name their top five who will get access to a 10-week incubator programme, including tailored support and guidance from mentors, $3000 in seed funding and the provision of three months' co-working space.
Entrants have until early September to refine their plans before pitching to a panel of judges, and hundreds of guests, at Innovate Whanganui's awards night. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Entries are open at innovatewhanganui.kiwi until June 4.