A team of local economic development leaders are planning a 6 County Fast Pitch Competition in March 2018 to provide entrepreneurs with the resources they need to turn their ideas into new businesses or products that will be based in Henry, Henderson, Knox, Mercer, Stark or Warren counties.

A team of local economic development leaders are planning a 6 County Fast Pitch Competition in March 2018 to provide entrepreneurs with the resources they need to turn their ideas into new businesses or products that will be based in Henry, Henderson, Knox, Mercer, Stark or Warren counties. 

Several information sessions set for October will explain the process.   

Similar to what’s seen on “Shark Tank,” the 6 County Fast Pitch Competition consists of presentations made to judges during individual, confidential sessions for a chance to win cash, prizes, advertising and professional small business consultation that will help them turn their idea into reality. 

Eligible participants will get to “pitch” a business idea that could be developed in one of the participating counties to judges with business, investment, development and marketing backgrounds. 

“We’ve had success doing this in the past, helping 11 new businesses start, existing businesses grow and new products get started,” said Russell Medley, community and economic development educator who helped organize the Henry and Stark Fast Pitch Competitions in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  

To find out more about the upcoming competition, interested participants are invited to attend information sessions at one of the following locations, with all programs starting at 6 p.m.:

 Oct. 17, Knox Agri Center, 180 South Soangetaha Road, Galesburg. 

 Oct. 19, Black Hawk Community Education Center, 404 E. Third St., Kewanee. 

 Oct. 24, Warren County Farm Bureau Office, 1000 North Main, Monmouth. 

 Oct. 26, Community Room of the Fire Station, 211 S. E. 3rd Street, Aledo.

Sign up online at University of Illinois Extension’s website — web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs — or call UI Extension Community and Economic Development educators Carrie McKillip serving Henderson, Knox and Warren Counties at (309) 342-5108 or Medley serving Henry, Mercer and Stark Counties at (309) 756-9978. 

The 2018 contest will take place on March 14. Applications to enter the competition are due by Jan. 31, 2018. Practice sessions for those selected will take place on Feb. 12, with professionals helping candidates hone their presentation skills. 

More information can also be found at www.6countyfastpitch.org.

Organizations that are helping plan the 6 County Fast Pitch event are Carl Sandburg College, City of Aledo, City of Galva, First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust, Galesburg Chamber of Commerce, Kewanee Economic Development Corp, Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development, Mercer County: Better Together, Stark County Economic Development, University of Illinois Extension, Western Illinois University Small Business Development Center, and Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois.