Start Peninsula weekend nurtures ideas to launch businesses

MadSkills, a business that connects employers with virtual military spouse talent, landed the first-place $10,000 prize at the sixth annual Start Peninsula business idea contest at the Stryker Center in Williamsburg Sunday night.

Active-duty Army spouse Erica McMannes, 36, of York County, said she started MadSkills with partner Liza Rodewald just before moving to the region about 15 months ago. McMannes had moved nine times in 15 years and knew what it was like to struggle to find a job or start and stop again, she said.

MadSkills has a community of about 2,200 military spouses and acts as a job board for employers to recruit specific virtual talent at hiremadskills.com, she said. The business already connected 60 spouses with virtual jobs, she said. Additionally, McMannes told the panel of judges the business also can recruit and manage a virtual team for employers.

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