The Westminster Window September 26, 2018

Adams County Business Pitch Competition Seeks Applicants

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Entrepreneurs Nationally may dream of getting on an episode of Shark Tank but for residents of Adams County, an alternative has just become available — the StartUp North pitch competition.

According to Patrick Giron, assistant director of the Brighton Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), it will be “very similar” to the popular television show - with some noteworthy differences.

“It’s not quite as cutthroat competition. There better not be any crying,” he added jokingly. “We will have failed.”

This year’s StartUp North competition will be the first pitch competition in the county. Giron and his colleagues developed the contest from a competition that has previously run in Brighton, expanding it so that all small business owners in Adams County can participate.

The event will be put on by the BEDC and nearly 20 other organizations, including mindSpark Learning, the startup that is serving as the title sponsor of this year’s event.

Kellie Lauth, CEO of mindSpark Learning, said that sponsoring the new event was a “no-brainer.” She believes the event will provide much-needed support for entrepreneurs in the area.

“Our goal is to shine a bright light on new and innovative ideas,” she said. “We’re proud to ensure a great start for those courageous enough to spark a new venture.”

The pitch competition takes Nov. 8 at the Armory Performing Arts Center in Brighton. A live audience will attend the event — which is free and open to the public — to watch business owners as they pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

StartUp North will continue accepting applications until Sept. 30. Small business owners who have been in business for five years or less, and have 25 or fewer employees, can apply online at

“They should be thorough yet concise, so we have enough to determine whether or not they should move forward,” Giron said.

After all applications have been submitted, StartUp North will choose approximately six business owners to give their pitches at the November event, he said.

There, several winners will be chosen to split the prize package, which is funded through private donors. Winners will also receive access to different business services, including legal, marketing, and advising services.

So far, the competition has raised $20,000 for the prize package, hoping to reach its goal of $25,000. Those interested in donating can send an email to

In the meantime, Giron urged all companies who meet the criteria to take a chance and apply. His advice? Be clear.

“Give us a clear picture of what your small business is,” he said. “If there’s anything unique or innovative about your company, make sure you highlight that.”