Five finalist companies in northwest Iowa competed for a chance to win cash prizes to help grow their businesses.
The fifth annual Dream Big Grow Here event, held at Sheldon, Iowa’s Crossroads Pavilion Event Center, took place on November 15.
The committee selected five finalists to compete for first, second and third place prizes totaling $7,000. Each company had six minutes to pitch their business, followed by five minutes of Q&A from the judges.
Heartland Coffee and Nosh of Correctionville took home the first place prize of $4,000. Lefty Leigh’s and Cassens’ Catering from Oto won $2,000 for second place, and JAK Sprat came in third to win $1000.
The remaining two finalists were:
• Joyency (Sioux City)
• SnSLabz (Rock Rapids)
Two other entrants provided display tables to showcase their businesses:
• Gnarly Pepper (Sioux City)
• Lindsay’s Flower Patch (Orange City)
Four judges were on hand to select the winners:
• Ken Beekley (Executive vice President at Siouxland Economic Development Corporation in Sioux City)
• Kelly McCarty (former Regional Director for Small Business Development Center covering 10 counties in northwest Iowa)
• Michelle Sanderson (owner of American Hero Clothing in Larchwood, Iowa and past Dream Big Grow Here prize winner
• Ty Rushing (Managing Editor of Iowa Information Publishers and Printers of Sheldon, which includes publications such as the N’West Iowa REVIEW and The Sheldon Mail-Sun)
Event sponsors included:
• Curt Strouth (City of Sheldon – coordinated the venue)
• Northwest Iowa Developers (economic development organizations in Cherokee, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth & Sioux counties – provided prize money)
• Iowa’s West Coast Initiative (economic development organizations in Plymouth, Monona & Woodbury counties – provided prize money)
• Siouxland Economic Development Corporation (Sioux City – provided prize money)
• Patrick Luensmann and the Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa (partnered with region to provide all technology and back end support)
Renae Billings, the event’s Regional Coordinator, shared her thoughts with SPN about the pitch contest.
“The economic development organizations in Northwest Iowa support the Dream Big Grow Here contest because it provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs in the region to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or expansion of their current business. The competition also gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to promote their business throughout Northwest Iowa, as well as compete for prize money that may give them the necessary boost they need to start their business and grow in our region.”
Visit dreambiggrowhere.com to learn more about Dream Big Grow Here.