The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship has launched The PitchFork Challenge, a business pitch competition that will award the winning business a $10,000 cash prize. The PitchFork Challenge is now accepting applications, and will conclude with final presentations this September, as part of the inaugural Radically Rural Summit.
Mary Ann Kristiansen, executive director of the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, said The PitchFork Challenge is open to any new business up to three years old. “From seasoned entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs looking to make their first pitch, Hannah Grimes will provide coaching, resources, and support to everyone who is selected to participate. We want to encourage entrepreneurs new to pitching to explore, and learn how to present their business opportunity in a compelling and persuasive way.” Kristiansen added that rural and small town businesses from throughout the region are welcome to participate, including Vermont and Massachusetts.
Hannah Grimes will be holding information sessions in June for those wishing to enter the PitchFork Challenge. “If you believe you have a great idea,” said Kristiansen, “we want to hear from you. You’ll learn a lot about how to present yourself. It’s a truly transformative experience.” Details can be found on Hannah Grimes’ website, at hannahgrimes.com/pitchforkchallenge. Applications to participate are due July 31, 2018.
The PitchFork Challenge is built on the success of Hannah Grimes’ PitchFork program. Developed in 2016, the PitchFork program brings area entrepreneurs and local investors together. Entrepreneurs receive coaching on making an effective business pitch. Quarterly pitch events provide entrepreneurs the chance to present their business opportunities and network with local investors.
According to Kristiansen, “There’s been a steep decline in business start-up rates in rural America. A lack of capital is one of the top causes for this drop-off. PitchFork offers a uniquely local solution to this challenge by providing a forum for local investors to learn about promising local businesses, and for local entrepreneurs to learn more about the pitch process. We are excited to present the PitchFork Challenge, award the winner a substantial $10,000 cash prize, and incorporate the Challenge in our first Radically Rural Summit.”
Radically Rural is a two-day summit that will bring together 500 people from the Greater Keene area and throughout the northeast who are passionate about creating vibrant, robust rural communities and eager to learn, connect, and lead change. The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship and The Keene Sentinel are partnering to present Radically Rural. The Summit will be held in Keene, September 27-28, 2018. All are welcome to attend. For more information about Radically Rural, visit radicallyrural.org.