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Entries Sought for Fast Pitch Contest on May 12 to Help Turn Business Ideas into Reality

(GALESBURG, IL.) When it comes to creating jobs in our region, a team of local economic development leaders are hoping that once again, the Six County Fast Pitch Competition will do just that. Now in its 6th year, the contest gives entrepreneurs a chance to win cash and prizes that will help them turn their ideas into reality.

Since it started in 2012, more than 95 contestants have entered and the combined prizes have totaled $50,000 in cash and almost $442,500 in in-kind prizes. All of the contestants have the option to receive assistance from the Small Business Development Center who help them look at their business ideas and offer insight to help them prepare to open or expand their businesses. More than a dozen new businesses have been established in the six county area as a result of the contest.  

The 2020 Six County Fast Pitch contestants will be eligible to compete for prizes including cash, advertising, and professional and small business consultation to help them turn their ideas into reality!  It is open to adult residents, current business owners, and student entrepreneurs in high school and college located the Illinois counties of Henderson, Henry, Knox, Mercer, Stark and Warren. The categories include: Existing Business Expansion which is open to any current business owner in the six counties; New Retail/Service Business, New Manufacturing/Fabrication Business; and Student Entrepreneur which is a new category this year giving those in high school or college a chance to share their business ideas.

Applications are due by March 16, 2020. There is no cost to apply.
Simply fill out an application form online at  

The application asks:

•   For your name and contact information

•   To verify which of the six counties you either reside in, own a business in or attend school in

•   Which category you are entering (ie: New Business, Business Expansion, or Student)

•   To give a brief background about yourself and/or your business

Potential contestants who have completed the application by the deadline will be given an opportunity to participate in a mock/practice Fast Pitch session before the actual contest to receive feedback and tips on their presentation.

The Six County Fast Pitch Competition will be held on Tuesday, May 12 at the Knox County AgriCenter in Galesburg, Illinois. The entrepreneurs will present their ideas to a panel of judges during confidential, individual, 10 minute “fast pitch” sessions. They will compete in the different categories: Existing Business Expansion, New Manufacturing/Fabrication, New Retail/Service, and Student Entrepreneur. That afternoon the winners will be announced during an awards ceremony where they will receive notice of their prize packages. Prize package sponsors include: Black Hawk College East Foundation, City of Galesburg, City of Galva, First Mid Bank & Trust, Galesburg Broadcasting, Kewanee Chamber of Commerce, Masters Educational Services, Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, Regional Media, University of Illinois Extension, and WRMJ.

More information on the Six County Fast Pitch Competition can be found online at or contact the following: in Henderson, Knox, and Warren Counties, Carrie McKillip (309) 342-5108 and in Henry, Mercer, and Stark Counties, Russell Medley (309) 756-9978


Six County Entrepreneurial Support Network includes members from Carl Sandburg College, City of Galva, First Mid- Bank & Trust, Galesburg Chamber of Commerce, Kewanee Economic Development Corporation, Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development, Mercer County: Better Together, Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, University of Illinois Extension, Western Illinois University Small Business Development Center, and Western Illinois Works.