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Notch Session Ale Wins 2011 Business Plan Competition

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More taste, less alcohol proves a winning combination

SALEM, Mass., April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Ipswich brewer Notch Session Ale took home top honors, including a $5,000 cash prize, in the 2011 North of Boston Business Plan Competition at the Grand Finale on April 11th.  The $3,000 second prize went to Tides Medical of Marblehead, MA, which sells orthopedic implants direct to hospitals; $2,000 went to third place winner Groupize, based in Gloucester, MA, which provides state-of-the-art group travel planning. The competition is sponsored by the Enterprise Center at Salem State University.

Notch Session Ale, Ipswich, MA, is capitalizing on the popularity of craft beers by introducing the kind of lower-alcohol beer that British pubs call “session” ale because people can enjoy a longer socializing session without becoming inebriated.  “Winning this competition validates our belief that serious beer drinkers are ready for ale that delivers flavor without high alcohol content,” said company president, Chris Lohring.  “We’re thrilled, especially as the competition was of such high quality; any of the finalists could easily have won.”

Winners commit to locating on the North Shore and to growing to at least five full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees within two years.  The 2011 winners are welcome additions to the North Shore economy.

A primary goal of the Competition is to support young companies—participants are all less than three years old—and encourage them to put down roots here.  “The Enterprise Center is all about supporting small businesses; we’re known as the go-to source for business owners to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to succeed, and the Business Plan Competition is one of the key ways in which we do this,” said Christine Sullivan, CEO of the Enterprise Center.

Her thoughts were echoed by David Ives, CEO of NiiS, Inc., Entrepreneur in Residence at the Enterprise Center and one of this year’s judges. “These businesses couldn’t be more different, and they just go to show the economic potential and business creativity right in our own backyard.”

The winners were chosen from 32 entrants, 20 of whom submitted detailed business plans, which were then reviewed by a panel of expert judges. In fact, previous winners have cited the judges’ feedback and the exposure to the North Shore business community they received as perhaps more valuable than the cash prizes.  All considered the Competition a key factor in their subsequent growth and success.

The Competition is grateful for the support of its GOLD Sponsor, TD Bank; SILVER Sponsors: Cyprotex Discovery Ltd, Differential Proteomics, Inc., North Shore Bank, North Shore Technology Council, Salem Five Charitable Foundation, Windover Construction and MEDIA Sponsors, The Salem Evening News and The Eagle-Tribune.

Co-sponsors of the 2011 competition include the 128 Innovation Capital Group, Amesbury Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bertolon School of Business at Salem State University, Beverly Chamber of Commerce, Cape Ann Business Incubator, Creative Economy Association of the North Shore, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Homebased Businesswomen’s Network, Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce, MA Small Business Development Center Network, Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, Inc., North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, North Shore Chamber of Commerce, Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce, Salem Chamber of Commerce, and the Salem State University Alumni Association.

For more detailed information about the 2011 North of Boston Business Plan Competition, visit or call (978) 542-7528.

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University is the “go to” place for business owners at every stage of business development, providing business owners with the knowledge and skills to grow profits and succeed and speaking for small businesses through advocacy and action.  The Enterprise Center is located at 121 Loring Avenue, Salem, MA  01970.  Phone 978-542-7528,

SOURCE Enterprise Center at Salem State University


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