Last week marked the end of the Barnesville, Minnesota, Spark Your Startup Business Pitch Contest, with three startups walking away with cash prizes. After an initial round consisting of online applications, judges scored and chose the top five contenders for a new business. The top five, as outlined below, represented individuals and organizations from the competition area as well as Fargo.

Fargo’s acquaintance to the east rolled out this inaugural competition to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in the region. During the final presentations, judge and sponsor Jeff Berg told participants, “We don’t always realize that people in other countries don’t have these opportunities. Starting your own business is the American dream.”

With that in mind, five commendable ideas sprang to life in Barnesville. Check out the final five and their descriptions below!

BoothBooth provides a sense of work-life balance for the contemporary entrepreneur who is always reachable, which is both a blessing and a curse. The virtual phone solution allows users to use a new phone number that automatically routes calls to their current phone. In tandem with this feature, users can set location-based call rules or accessibility times. If desired, for example, the entrepreneur can now choose to only accept calls at the office or before 10:00pm (right before a normal person would go to sleep).


DinnerTiesAs witnessed at this past 1 Million Cups Fargo, DinnerTies is an open invitation for the world to have dinner in Fargo. Through an online application, the DinnerTies team pair potential hosts and visitors based on interests and availability for an intimate dinner and undoubtedly stimulating conversation. The team seeks to utilize Fargo’s most valuable resource with the world and continue that notion of north-Midwestern kindness.


Infuse SolutionsThe creators of Infuse Solutions are on a mission to improve the overall workplace experience by providing tools and education for more effective communication. Through coaching, facilitation, and a myriad of other means, Infuse Solutions attempts to provide personal development opportunities while positively affecting the corporate climate. And ultimately, the positive environment created through openness and effective communication can lead to maximizing the livelihoods of employees.


SnapdocsAnother new veteran of 1 Million Cups Fargo, Snapdocs is a mobile application that invokes the use of cell phone cameras to collect images of text documents and translate them into editable files. Developed by five local middle school students and coming off a recent national competition victory, Snapdocs has the potential to efficiently transfer hardcopy documents to online storage and promote a movement into a paperless world. And all of this can be done from a smartphone device.


UServeVolunteering will never be easier once UServe takes hold. Imagine a mobile application that allows users to both search for local volunteer opportunities and schedule them almost instantly. Instead of searching website after website for a nonprofit of interest (if they even get that far), interested participants can use this one-stop-shop to find their perfect fit. If only every good deed could be so easily initiated by a single app.


Ultimately, the Booth team walked away with the competition’s top prize of $1,000. Following was Infuse Solutions claiming a second place $500 prize. And coming in third according to the judges, but deemed the crowd favorite through online voting, UServe won two $250 prizes for its pitch distinctions.

All organizations competing in this Barnesville Business Pitch Competition were in the pre-revenue stage of operation.

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Matt Gantz