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Metro Creative Connection

Barnesville, Minn., Business Pitch Contest in its third year

The third annual Spark Your Startup — Barnesville Business Pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Barnesville, Minn., Old City Hall community room, on the second level. The event represents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to present their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash and in-kind prizes. An additional $10,000 forgivable loan is available to the winner, should he or she decide to locate the new business venture in Barnesville.

The competition is sponsored by Stoneridge Software, headquartered in Barnesville, Crown Appraisals in Barnesville, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp., Protosthetics of Fargo and Barnesville, the Barnesville Economic Development Authority and DBS Inc. Spark Your Startup starts with an online application at, with an entry deadline of Sept. 15. From those applications, up to five finalists will be chosen to present their five-minute pitch to the panel, which includes the entrepreneur sponsors of the contest. The first-place winner will receive $1,000 cash, mentoring and other services, second place will receive $500 and third place $250. Last year’s winner was Cooper Bierscheid, cofounder of Protosthetics, a 3-D printing company in Fargo.

“Spark Your Startup was an amazing opportunity to pitch our business idea of Protosthetics,” Bierscheid says in a statement. “It was great to hear feedback from the panel of judges and the community of entrepreneurs in Barnesville. This experience will definitely help take our idea for affordable prosthetics to realization.”

Leah Baker, in marketing and communications for Stoneridge Software, says the contest is still growing. “The entrepreneurial movement in the area is not just limited to Fargo-Moorhead,” she tells Prairie Business. “In the global marketplace, many times all a business needs is an Internet connection in order to get things done. This contest is meant to not only encourage people to take the startup plunge, but to consider locating their business in a small town.” Some small towns have additional incentives and community support not always found in urban areas, she adds. “The rural areas in the region are wired up and the City of Barnesville has its own electrical and phone municipality with high speed Internet access.”

More information and guidelines can also be found at