By Jeff Brown, WBZ New England Business

LOWELL (CBS) – The first ever Merrimack Valley Sandbox Showdown pitch contest is Thursday night at UMass-Lowell.

Co-executive director David Parker tells WBZ NewswRadio 1030 ten aspiring entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to a panel of celebrity judges and an audience. The winner gets $10,000.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jeff Brown reports

Parker says the contest got underway several months ago with more than 200 entries. Through a series of pitches, that number has been whittled down to the finalists. Being a new organization, Merrimack Valley Sandbox has just started reaching into the community, encouraging people to come forward with ideas.

As WBZ New England Business has reported, serial entrepreneur Desh Deshpande helped create the program and is the man behind the award money. This ceremony is a precursor to a three-month accelerator program coming this winter.

Parker says it’s a great way to take an idea and make a business out of it. He says hopefully down the road, these businesses will eventually hire people and be good for the economy.

The public is invited to the entrepreneur showdown at UMass-Lowell. It starts at 6 p.m.

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