Barnesville Business Pitch

Spark Your Startup 2019!Spark Your Startup

The sixth annual entrepreneur event is sponsored by Stoneridge Software, Barnesville Economic Development AuthorityGreater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, DBS, Inc., Midwest Bank and West Central Initiative.

In-kind donations provided by CEO Solutions, J & J Braton Properties, Barnesville Main Street and Cottonwood Designs. 

Have you ever wanted to be on Shark Tank? We are looking for entrepreneurs who want a boost in the world of business ownership to participate in a “Business Pitch Contest,” held in Barnesville, MN. Finalists will compete for cash prizes and loan eligibility in a Business Pitch Presentation on Tuesday, October 15 at Barnesville Old City Hall Chambers. Deadline for entries will be Monday, September 16. Nominations are reviewed by contest sponsors and finalists will be chosen. All finalists will receive presentation coaching. Awards and entry rules are listed below.

At the presentation event on Tuesday, October 15, each presenter will have five minutes to present their business idea to the 3-person panel of judges.  The judges will have four minutes to ask questions to understand more about the viability of the business.  At the completion of the pitches, the judges will award the top two finishers and present them with cash awards.  There will also be a “People’s Choice” award which will be voted on by the public via an online survey at

“The Spark Your Startup competition was a huge step forward for WalkWise (formerly WalkSmart). It provided a much-needed boost of confidence and some reassurance that my solution was worthwhile and that my plan was reasonable. It was also really fun to hear about the other startups in the region, and I have kept in touch with many of the other contestants. I would highly recommend applying to any entrepreneur!”

 – Peter Chamberlain, founder of  WalkWise & 2017 Spark Your Startup Business Pitch Winner.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the Spark Your Startup event!

Business Pitch Contest Presentation
Tuesday, October 15 at 3:30 p.m.
Economic Development Authority, 2nd Level of Dobmeier Funeral Home
202 Front St N, Barnesville, MN 56514 


1st Place

  • $1,500 Cash 
  • $10,000 Forgivable Loan
  • Business mentoring from CEO Solutions
  • Free t-shirts with winner’s logo from Cottonwood Designs
  • One month free rent from J & J Braton Properties
  • One year free membership from Barnesville Main Street

2nd Place

  • $500 Cash

People’s Choice

  •  $250 Cash (this could be in addition to other prize money if a top two finisher)


There is no requirement that the top finishers open a business in Barnesville, MN. However, the first place winner will be offered a $10,000 forgivable loan if they choose to open a business within the city by March 1, 2020. *Loan recipients must also meet additional eligibility requirements. Those who open a business in Barnesville can also take advantage of the Business Incentives program which provides (among other things) free utility set up and base charges for an entire year.

Sponsored by:

City of BarnesvilleMidwest BankGreater Fargo-Moorhead Economic DevelopmentDean's Bulk Service


All participants must complete the form below in its entirety to be considered for the Business Pitch prizes.  The judges have the right to throw out any idea which would appear to be fake or inappropriate for presentation to a public forum.  Each participant must be available to present their idea in front of the audience and judges.  The competition is for individuals who have played a major role in conceiving the proposed venture.  The maximum number of people for a single pitch is limited to five persons. Each individual or team pitching may enter one idea or concept.  The business must be in the pre-revenue stage.  Contestants should be aware that no one on the panel or in the audience will be completing a non-disclosure agreement. Check with an attorney about what information to present if there’s a concern about it becoming public.


Objective – the goal of the pitch is to define the idea or concept by explaining a product, service or value proposition in a short duration of time (5 minutes).  This is not a sales pitch but a description of the validity of the business idea.

Introduction – participants are encouraged to introduce their team members and the problem their business is trying to solve.

Format – the pitch is a simple summary of the concept and during the presentation, you can use any form of media (including PowerPoint/whiteboard) to assist in the explanation of the idea

Time – there are 5 minutes allocated to each participant and 4 minutes allowed for questions and answers with the judges.  Time will be tracked and the presentation will be cut off at the end of the allotted time.

For questions regarding the “Business Pitch Contest” contact the Barnesville Economic Development Authority at 218-354-2145 or Stoneridge Software at 218-422-7858.