SALEM — Small businesses from Salisbury, Gloucester and Peabody are finalists for a $10,000 first prize in this year's North of Boston Business Plan Competition held by the Enterprise Center at Salem State University.

"The purpose of the competition is to identify and support new or expanding businesses that want to grow on the North Shore," according to the center's executive director, Laura Swanson, in a statement. The competition is in its 14th year and is held by the Enterprise Center, which supports and advocates for North Shore small businesses through programs, education, resources and making connections among them.

On Nov. 13, the three businesses were selected by the judges as part of the semifinal round.

This Friday, Dec. 6, the businesses will give their final presentations to determine the first, second and third-place winners. The presentations will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Marsh Hall on Salem State's campus, and the public is invited to attend.

In addition to the $10,000 first prize, the second-place finisher will receive $3,000, and the third-place finisher will receive $2,000.

Swanson said the businesses equally value the advice and feedback from judges, who include early stage investors, venture capitalists, bankers and other experts.

"As we enter our 14th year of the competition, we continue to be impressed, excited and enthusiastic about the entrepreneurs who are building businesses and creating jobs on the North Shore.” Swanson said.

The three finalists are: 

Covalent Bonds of Salisbury — The company measures marketing and media for the life science industry. The company has developed a measurement system called ACTsights, a platform that provides "simple and actionable reports on marketing impact and budget optimization for the C-suite." The company also provides " data-led marketing strategy and optimization services."

Extreme Gloucester Fishing of Gloucester — The Extreme Gloucester Fishing Commercial Fishing Training Center, LLC provides professional instruction to the next generation of "aspiring wild caught sustainable seafood harvesters." The company provides innovative classroom curriculum and hands-on training.

Woven Royal of Peabody — The company has created the Afrona, "a stylish and easy to put on hat that prevents curly and voluminous hair from ever going flat, even after sleep." The Afrona lifts up the hair to protect and preserve curls, allowing users to "stand their crown."

The other three semifinalists were Chikara Health Records of Marblehead, Dogs Unleashed of Salem and Moody’s Home & Gifts of Salem.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @TannerSalemNews.  

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