Marion County strives to inspire and encourage innovators and entrepreneurs of all ages by bringing their ideas and creative ways of thinking to the community. As such, the CEP holds an Entrepreneurship Competition for local youths to present their ideas to a panel of judges in the hopes of winning the 1st-place prize worth $4,000. On Friday, November 18th, Ocala held their third annual Youth Business Plan Competition. Raney’s was honored to be a sponsor for the event, and our CEO, Joel Raney, who  sat as one of the judges, spoke about the event, “We definitely want to be involved in events like this, as it goes hand-in-hand with our own story.”

Entrepreneurship Competition Meets Shark Tank

The finale is comparable to an episode of the hit television show Shark Tank. Students presented their business plans to six judges—  all of whom were well known business leaders in our own community— and were judged on their oral presentation, which included content, speaking ability, visuals, and how they answered questions asked by the judges. After reviewing each business plan presented to them, the panel chose for first place the team from Vanguard High School and their business plan CrashMouth, a sports mouthpiece that can detect concussion-force impacts. Second place went to Azul Water Co, and third place went to Liberated Concierge. Congratulations to them and all the other participants in the competition!

Raney’s is a big supporter of all entrepreneurs. It takes courage and willingness to take risks to build a business, and we were honored to be among other great entrepreneurs in Marion County, from the judges to all the students who participated! The story of these up and coming entrepreneurs is like our own story! Click here to learn about how we started and where we are now.


President of the CEP Kevin Sheilley presents Raney’s with a certificate for helping sponsor the event.


Panel of judges taking their seats and preparing for the competition to commence!


Congrats to these Vanguard Knights for winning first place!