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Remembering Garret Hunter: Visionary Behind the RI Biz Plan Competition

Garrett Hunter, founder of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, died on February 11.

An insightful, creative, effective -- and above all, friendly -- business professional, Garrett served as president of the Business Development Company in Providence for two decades. It was in that capacity he established the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition in 2000 as a way to foster development of startup companies and expand employment in the Ocean State.

From its beginning, when the BDC was its sole supporter, the Competition has grown to 59 sponsors this year, including banks, investors, professional firms, colleges, universities, service organizations, nonprofits, and, much to Garrett's delight, former competitors.

To date, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition has awarded more than $2 million in prizes to emerging companies that span a wide range of industries. Currently, more than 40 past competitors operate, employing about 500 people.

"Garrett had an unerring sense for identifying business ideas that had potential to become growing companies," notes Peter Lowy, executive director of the Competition. "Because he could detect weak spots in a business plan, and propose ways of overcoming them, he became in a real sense a mentor to many businesses, always providing advice and counsel in a supportive spirit. He was a builder - and a true gentleman."

Family and friends may gather at The Historic Chapel at Swan Point Cemetery, 585 Blackstone Blvd., Providence, on Thursday, Feb, 23, at 10:00 AM; reception to follow at The University Club, 219 Benefit Street, Providence, Rhode Island.

Calling hours will be Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home, 659 East Greenwich Avenue, West Warwick, Rhode Island.

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