The business pitch competition returns to Hayden

Nick LaGorga won the Hayden Business Pitch competition last year to boost his company, Yampa Valley Entertainment.
Nick LaGorga/Photo courtesy

The Hayden Business Pitch Competition will return in 2022 for its second year, offering local entrepreneurs a chance to raise seed capital while bringing new ideas and business to the community.

“It’s just a really great opportunity for someone who’s thinking about actually getting into this area of ​​entrepreneurship,” said Tegan Ebbert, the city’s community development director. “We definitely want to support our small businesses in Hayden, support entrepreneurship… We really want this to be an opportunity at this time for people in this community who want to be entrepreneurs and start a business that serves the community.” ”

The application period for the business pitch competition ends on Sunday, October 23, at 11:59 p.m. Ebbert said that those wishing to enter the competition must fill out some basic information, provide a general business concept and answer a few questions about what market solutions they are trying to address or what gaps in the economy they are trying to fill.

“This Sunday at midnight is not the deadline for the fully formed business pitch,” Ebbert said. “It’s essentially a statement of intent that you’re implying you’re going to enter the business pitch contest.”

Ebbert said Ashley Pines of the Small Business Development Center and Randy Rudasics of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center will hold office hours in Hayden after applications are received and will meet with applicants in a mentoring role to improve pitches before the competition.

“We will require that each of the applicants attend this small business consultation or mentorship — at least one appointment before the Nov. 12 pitch,” Ebbert said. “We will have help available to fully formulate their pitch or business idea because what we really want as a result of that is real companies coming after Hayden.”

She added that one of the cool things about last year’s business pitch contest, which was won by Yampa Valley Entertainment’s Nick LaGorga, was that there were many of the entrants — including those who won money and those who didn’t have – opened businesses in the area.

This year, the top prize is $10,000, runner-up takes home $5,000 and third place takes home $3,000. If the winner represents a woman or minority owned business, they will receive an additional $5,000.

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The competition is open to companies that are still in the planning phase or were founded in 2022. These businesses must be located in the Hayden School District, but the applicant or business owner can reside anywhere. There will be an event for the business pitch competition, scheduled for November 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., open to the public. This event will be followed by an awards ceremony and mixing desk from 5pm to 7pm

“Our hope is that maybe some of our other small business owners in the community or other community members will come and hear about the businesses featured, so maybe there are some partnership opportunities or support opportunities that people can make,” Ebbert said. “We just want to create some excitement around these potential companies.”

Ebbert said anyone interested in entering the business pitch contest can reach her at 970-457-7216 or email [email protected] with questions.

“Our goal is to connect them with resources, as both the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center and SBDC provide a number of resources that Hayden may not have access to that can help provide them with long-term small business mentorship or understanding to combine components of corporate ownership that they may not have thought of,” said Ebbert. “We definitely want real business to result from this.”


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