Hands Up Lake County is a business competition to encourage and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in the community. Throughout the process, participants will have the opportunity to receive advice and mentorship from experienced business leaders with a proven track record in business. Participants will develop a business plan, and the finalists will have the opportunity to showcase and pitch their business to a group of judges on December 12, 2021. All the finalists will receive cash rewards to help jumpstart their business.


The competition provides a unique experience for the participants.


The participants of the competition have the chance to win one of 5 cash prizes, which he or she can use to jumpstart his business plan.


1st Place Prize


2nd Place Prize


3rd Place Prize


4th Place Prize


5th Place Prize

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
A. Lake County residents 18 years or older who have an idea for a start-up business or who own an established small Lake County are eligible to apply.

Q. Are there any restrictions I should be aware of?
A. Due to the Federal cannabis laws, we are not accepting cannabis-related ideas.

Q. Does the business have to be a storefront in Lake County?
A. Not necessarily. The owner must be a resident doing business in the County either online or in a storefront.

Q. Is there an application fee or charge to participate?
A. No. You are however required to attend the 1-day training & follow up competions.

Q. How do I apply for the Hand Up Lake County opportunity?
A. Online applications only are accepted. Fillable applications are on the website at

Q. When can I apply?
A. From April 1 – June 30, 2021. No late applications will be accepted.

Q. What is the process for the competition?
A. There are 4 phases of the competition:

  1. In the 1 st phase, applications received by the deadline will be reviewed and up to 15 applicants plus up to 3 alternates will be selected to go to phase 2.
  2. Phase 2 is a mandatory 1-day training. The training will be held on 8/28/21 @ Konocti Vista Resort & Casino in Lakeport, 2755 Mission Rancheria Road.
  3. Phase 3 is a mini competition on 10/23/21 also held @ Konocti Vista Resort & Casino. Applicants compete to be among the 5 finalists to advance to phase 4.
  4. Phase 4 is the final competition where 5 finalists will pitch their business plan to a select group of judges on 12/12/21 @ Konocti Resort & Casino in Lakeport.

Q. Will there be follow-up training prior to the final competition?
A. Yes. The 5 finalists will receive 1:1 training according to their specific needs. Dates TBD.

Q. If I applied last year, can I re-apply this year?
A. Yes, you may re-apply. Any small business can apply, except last year’s winners.

Q. Do all 5 finalists receive a cash award?
A. Yes. Applicants compete for cash prizes of: $20,000, $12,000, $8,000, $6,000, & $4,000.

Q. If I have further questions?
A. Contact Olga Steele at 916-849-8170 should you have any unanswered questions.

Who Should Apply
Anyone who believes in and loves Lake County; has a dream to own a business; has a creative business idea and the ability and stamina it takes to make it in business; has what it takes to pitch an idea to others; and who can use a financial boost to kick-start a business or take an existing small business to the next level is encouraged to apply.