I.D.E.A. WF competition gives boost to local businesses

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A Texoma woman's business continues to grow a year after winning a competition aimed to help small businesses get off the ground.

Nichole Kirk, owner of Dear Heart Designs took a hobby and made it into a business in 2013.

Her business took off online but following her victory at last year's I.D.E.A. WF competition, Kirk added a booth at the Loft Marketplace to her business model.

"I wanted to let (people) know that their story was worthy of sharing, and now I create jewelry pieces that allow them to do that," Kirk said.

Kirk creates 50 to 100 necklaces a week.

After watching her business double every year since 2013, she stumbled upon an ad for I.D.E.A WF.

"I really looked into it and I went to orientation and thought, you know what, I can really do this," she said.

The business plan competition is designed to help entrepreneur launch or expand their local businesses.

The top three winners receive thousands of dollars and services to professional assistance like accounting and marketing.

"It's just been really nice to be able to use all those services for growth when normally I'd have to pay out of pocket," Kirk said.

It's something Kirk will be forever grateful for and an opportunity other business owners should take advantage of.

"The benefits of it are so amazing, to actually see a roadmap of how your business is going to be and how successful it can be. It just gives you the confidence to really take leaps of faith," she said.

Kirk hopes to one day have a storefront of her own. The dream is more of a reality thanks to the knowledge she was able to take away from I.D.E.A WF.

If you are interested in entering the competition the first step is attending orientation.

The next one is Thursday, February 23rd, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It will take place in room 189 in the Dillard College of Business building at MSU.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6

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