MOUNT STERLING, Ill. (WGEM) – Five Brown County start -up competition finalists are set to compete for a $ 20,000 prize to make their business dream a reality Wednesday night.
Dressed by Action Brown County and through the Tracy Family Foundation, this competition is the first of its kind to take place in Brown County.
The competition started on April 13 with 17 participants. Through the process, competitors submitted an application with an Action Brown County business idea. Over time, participants are required to attend two of three workshops to help grow their business on topics related to marketing, branding, and planning.
Action Brown County officials said the idea is to bring niche businesses to Brown County and help stimulate the local economy.
“The goal is for them to keep their business going for six to nine months,” said Action Brown County Executive Director Alex Geisler. “It’s known that they may have restrictions or setbacks so we can work with them, but that’s the purpose for them, to make it easier to keep up.”
Colleen Loehr and Jeff Schmitz prepare for their presentations on Tuesday before the pitch tomorrow.
Loehr and her husband said their butcher shop and deli business idea, Loehr’s Lockers, will bring a lot to her hometown of Versailles.
“There’s a lot of backlog in butcher shops in the area,” Loehr said. “So, we want to help consumers get their meat and have access to fresh local meat.”
Schmitz’s said he is thinking about the future for his business idea, Two Wheels Trading Co., which is a bike repair shop located in Mount Sterling.
“With the Brown County Trail network on the run hopefully over the next ten years, it looks like someone will have to bring bikes to be serviced,” Schmitz said.
Geisler said they almost tripled the amount of applicants they received for the start-up competition than they expected.
“We didn’t expect a huge turnout,” Geisler said. “We were hoping for four and we got seventeen.”
As a result, Geisler said they need to change the competition by adding that “finalist” round to five contestants. He said seventeen was too much for a one -night pitching event. He said that even if there is only one winner, other pitches can be taken by investors.
“Maybe there’s a potential investor in the audience,” Geisler said. “So if a business doesn’t win, but an investor like ‘hey that’s a good idea. I want to keep that going, they can make that connection through this process.’
The pitch competition is scheduled to take place Wednesday, May 11, in the Brown County High School auditorium.
The public attending in-house will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite pitch.
The judge panel also emphasizes on the voting process.
The full press release of the competition can be found here.
Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.