Spark Your Startup at 2nd annual pitch contest in Barnesville

In the wake of last year’s success, the city of Barnesville, MN, is hosting their 2nd annual business pitch contest designed to “spark your startup!” Entrepreneurs are invited to pitch in front of a panel of judges for the chance to win cash prized up to $1,000 and $10,000 in forgivable loans. Business mentorship is also provided. The idea, they state, is to “give your business a jolt.”


It certainly jolted last year’s winner, Fargo’s Josh Christy. Christy is the founder of Codelation and Booth – a communications program which at the time was just an idea.

“Pitching in the Spark Your Startup Business competition… took an idea that was truly a concept and made us develop a real plan around revenue, partnerships, and market strategy,” Christy said. “I’d encourage anyone that is serious about starting a business or creating a product to get in front of those who have done it before.”

How to Apply

Entrants must fill out an online application at or Deadline for entries is Friday, Aug. 14.

The applications will be evaluated, and five finalists will be chosen to present a five-minute pitch in front of a judge’s panel, which includes the entrepreneur sponsors of the contest. Judges will have four minutes to ask questions and then score each entrant.

Winners will receive up to a $1,000 cash prize, as well as mentoring hours by current business owners. A people’s choice winner will also be awarded via online voting.

The competition presentations will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, September 3 at Old City Hall council chambers in Barnesville, MN. Presentations are open to the public.

The startup idea is not required to be located in Barnesville, though a $10,000 forgivable loan is available to the winner, should they choose to locate a business within the city.

As with so many things, winning or losing is not the end value here. To pitch your idea in front of people who know what they’re talking about is invaluable, Christy said.

“There is a wealth of knowledge out there that you might not know about,” he said.

For information on awards, guidelines, rules and submission form please go to or

The event is sponsored by Stoneridge Software, Dean’s Bulk Service, Crown Appraisals and the Barnesville Economic Development Authority.

Marisa Jackels

Marisa Jackels

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