Fast Pitch Competition seeks entrepreneurs & businesses

Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014, 11:41 am
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Press release submitted by University of Illinois Extension

Fast Pitch Competition Seeks Entrepreneurs & Businesses in Henry and Stark Counties to Reward with Cash and Prizes for Great Business Ideas–Applications Due April 4 for the April 24th Contest

When it comes to creating jobs in Henry and Stark Counties, a team of local economic development leaders are organizing the 3rd Annual Fast Pitch Competition. They are looking for people willing to share their ideas for a new business, invention or a way to grow an existing business to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash and prizes that will help turn their ideas into reality.

The contest will take place on Thursday, April 24 at Black Hawk College's Community Education Center in Kewanee, IL. Adults ages 18 and older who live or own a business in Henry and Stark Counties are invited to enter the contest where they would share their ideas for new retail, manufacturing, technology, agriculture and other businesses, or their ideas to improve an existing business or retail. Selected participants will have 10 minutes to "pitch" their idea to a panel of judges during individual, confidential sessions that morning. Winners will be announced that afternoon at a 1:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony.

Applications are due by Friday, April 4, 2014. Eligibility to present will be determined by the Fast Pitch committee. All decisions of the committee are final. Approved applicants will have the opportunity to participate in a Mock Fast Pitch Session on either March 11 in Colona, IL or on March 20 in Kewanee, IL. Henry Stark Fast Pitch Applications can be filled out online at University of Illinois Extension's web site: http://web.extension.illinios.edu/hmrs or a hard copy can be mailed if you call (309) 756-9978.

Entries will be in the following two categories

1) Existing Business Expansion - This category is for those whose venture has already been in operation for 3 or more years. Contestants are invited to share their ideas on how to expand their current business. The Existing Business Winner will receive: $5,000 cash ($2,500 at Awards event and $2,500 after consultation services are completed), 10 hours of professional business consultation services ($1,000 value) and in-kind radio advertising from Regional Media. The Existing Business Runner-up will receive: $500 Cash and a course waiver to Black Hawk College's Small Business Development Center ($400 value).

2) Start Up Business* This category is for those with a plan to start a new Retail/Sales business or a new Non-Retail Business or a product in areas like Agriculture, Manufacturing, or Technology. The Start-Up Winner will receive: $2,500 cash, ($1,250 at Awards event/$1,250 after consultation services are completed) 10 hours of professional business consultation services and in-kind radio advertising from Regional Media. The Start-up Business Runner-up will receive: $500 Cash and a course waiver to Black Hawk College's Small Business Development Center ($400 value). *A minimum of 5 applicants are required in order to hold the Start-up Business category contest.

The team organizing the Fast Pitch includes Black Hawk College, City of Colona, City of Kewanee, Kewanee Economic Development Corporation, City of Galva, the Galva Economic Development Association, Henry County Economic Development Partnership, Illinois Small Business Development Center, Stark County Economic Development, and University of Illinois Extension. Sponsors include:
B & B Printing; BankORION; Black Hawk Bank & Trust; Breedlove's Sporting Goods; Bruner, Cooper & Zuck, Inc; City of Colona; Galva Chamber of Commerce; Henry County Revolving Loan Fund; Port Byron State Bank; Regional Media; Rumbold & Kuhn, Inc; State Bank of Speer; State Bank of Toulon; Stark County News; and Werner Restoration.

In its first two years, the Henry- Stark Counties Fast Pitch competition opened doors to 42 budding and seasoned entrepreneurs who shared their concepts for the chance to win resources to develop their ideas into thriving businesses. They have distributed over $22,000 in cash and over $50,000 of in-kind prizes to the winners! Thanks to the sponsors and organizers, Fast-Pitch Results are impressive:
11 Businesses Received Business Consultation
9 New Start-ups Were Initiated
3 Business Loans were Obtained
10 JOBS were created or retained
More information can also be found at the Henry and Stark Counties Fast Pitch web site www.henrystarkfastpitch.org or call (309) 756-9978.


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