Fast Track Business Challenge

Scott County businesses will have a shot at pitching their ideas to a panel of judges and potentially win cash and business services in the Fast-Track Business Challenge.

A Minnesota Chamber of Commerce board member, a state commissioner and other business leaders will decide which local startup company wins Scott County's third Fast-Track Business Challenge, organizers recently announced. 

The yearly Scott County Community Development Agency contest takes a "Shark Tank"-like approach, providing mentorship and thousands of dollars in prize money to help young businesses get started. Its five judges this year, according to an agency news release, are:

  • Angela Heikes, a chamber board member and president and CEO of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Gaming Enterprise, which oversees the community's two casinos
  • Kirstin Haugen, managing attorney at KC Haugen Law in Savage, founder of Rock Solid Consultants and a judge at last year's challenge
  • Steve Grove, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and former Google executive, White House adviser and reporter
  • Charles Shannon, vice president of corporate development at Equus Holdings, an investment company
  • And Patrick McIntyre, vice president of strategy at Best Buy's Transformation Office who has been with the company since 2004. 

Scott County entrepreneurs can apply for the challenge until Aug. 31 at scottcountyfasttrack.com

Applicants must submit a business plan that they'll work on with a business adviser before the first round of judging. Finalists from that round will get more coaching before their pitches to the judges at a live event at Prior Lake City Hall on Oct. 24. 

Judges will evaluate contestants based on their concepts, viability, potential to create jobs with livable wages and other criteria.

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