Hands Up Lake County

Join the team as a participant or sponsor

Hands Up Lake County is a competition inspired by Shark Tank and other competitions that reward entrepreneurial creativity and business development – such as Start Up Mendocino, The Freemont Economic Development Corps and Fordham’s Foundry, Venture Up! 

Participants will be tasked to develop a viable business plan that can be sustainable in Lake County. Throughout the whole process of the competition, participants will have the opportunity to receive advice and mentorship from experienced business leaders with a proven track record in the local community. The Lake County Economic Development Corporation will also provide coaching and mentoring to all our participants. On top of this, participants will have the opportunity to connect with relevant people from 1Team 1Dream’s network to help strengthen their skillset.


There will be four phases to the competition.

The Application

Prospective candidates must fill out the application form by the deadline. The application includes questions related to the proposed business plan or concept. All applications must be submitted online. 10-15 candidates will be selected to go to Phase 2. *Application Deadline: August 31, 2020.



Participants will be equipped with the know-how to develop a viable business plan. 1Team1Dream will host a 1-day business plan training at The New Paradigm College in Lucerne, Ca. on Saturday, October 10, 2020, specific details to be announced. Local instructors, Denise Rushing and Carol Cole-Lewis, will take participants through the basics of business plan development, financials, marketing & sales and pitching. Participants will receive a workbook complete with templates and reference materials.


Initial Presentation

After the training, all participants must apply the key learnings into his or her business plan. He or she will finalize their business plan and make a presentation to a panel of judges.  This is a "mini-competition," from which 6 finalists will be selected to proceed to the main competition on December 6 at the Soper Reese Theater in Lakeport.


Final Sales Pitch

On the final round, the 6 finalists will be required to do their sales pitch in front of a panel of judges and the audience. The final competition will be held at the Soper Reese Theatre on December 6, 2020. The specific criteria for judging will be shared to all the participants.


We are looking for creative individuals who can think outside of the box and present a solid business plan that could make a positive and sustainable impact on Lake County. He or she has the chance to win a cash prize that can help jumpstart his or her business, as well as receive advice and mentorship from one of Lake County’s trusted business establishment names. 

To be eligible to join, participants must be at least 18 years old. He or she should be a resident of Lake County, California. The competition will be for budding entrepreneurs and for-profit organizations only.​ 


Due to the Federal cannabis laws, we are not accepting cannabis related ideas/submittals.

So as long as you are 18 years old and above and a resident of Lake County, you can join! 

During the application process, participants will be chosen according to how feasible their business plans are from a competitive and marketing standpoint. The most interesting and viable business plan will be chosen to join the next phase. 


The top 6 finalists will be chosen based on the essential information they’ve included in their plan as well as how they well they’ve drafted their written plan. Using clear and direct-to-the point communication will be given utmost importance aside from a good business concept. 


The final phase will focus on the sales pitch. The winner of the competition will be the participant who is able to present and communicate their business plan clearly and creatively to a panel of judges and the audience. 

1st Prize: $15,000 | 2nd Prize: $5,000 |  3rd Prize: $3,000

4th Prize: $1,500 | 5th Prize: $1,000

Each participant of the competition has the chance to win one of 5 cash prizes, which he or she can use to jumpstart his business plan:

Q.  What are the eligibility requirements?

A.  Applicants must be 18 years or older and have an idea for a start up business or be a small Lake County business owner.

If you are someone who believes in and loves Lake County; has a dream to own a business; has a creative idea and the ability and stamina it takes to make it in business; has what it takes to pitch your idea to others; and needs a financial boost to kick-start a business or take your small business to the next level, we encourage you 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 businesses. Additionally, only for-profit businesses can apply.

Q.  If I have further questions, whom may I contact?

A.  Contact Olga Steele at 916-849-8170 should you have any unanswered questions.

Q.  How do I apply for the Hands Up Lake County opportunity?

A.  Find the online and fillable PDF applications above. *Application Deadline: August 31, 2020.

Q.  Will there be any follow-up training prior to the final competition?

A.  Yes. The 6 finalists will be able to receive 1:1 training according to their specific needs.

Q.  Is there an application fee or charge to participate?

A.  No.  You are however required to attend the 1-day training & follow up competitions.

Q.  Do all 6 finalists receive a cash award?

A.  Yes, the prizes are $15,000, $5,000, $3,000, $1,500, $1,000, & $2,500.

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Our brochure provides detailed 

information on the Hands Up Lake

County Program. 

Please feel free to download, print, and

hand out our brochure. 

The competition is over and has chosen 15 semifinalists. They will compete for a chance to advance to the final phase of the competition. On October 31, 6 businesses will be selected by a panel of judges at The Lodge at Blue Lakes for the final phase of the competition where they will compete for cash prizes from $15,000 to $1,000. The final competition will be on December 6.


1 Team 1 Dream is a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting economic growth in Lake County. The organization was formed in response to the years of fires and for the need to help budding business enterprises thrive and survive. 1 Team 1 Dream seeks to build economic resilience and stability amidst varying economic and environmental challenges. 

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1Team 1Dream

5135 W. State Highway 20

Upper Lake, CA 95485



EIN #83-3737632

With thanks to our photographers and videographers:  

Noah Berger, AP 

Cole Euken, Euken Photography

Sam Euston

Claudia Konocti

Ron Keas

Mike Smith

Karen Pavone Photography

Jeff Jenkins, Jeff Jenkins Photography


Jeff Henderson, J&B Photography