“One day I’m going to open up my own ____.”
Have these words come out of your mouth before? I know they have for me. In fact, just last week I told someone, “I’m going to open up my own Ice Cream shoppe in Downtown Sioux City.” Now before you get too excited, I don’t exactly have a business plan to back that up. I’m just a girl who loves ice cream but has no set business plans…well at least not currently.
But maybe you’re reading this, and unlike me, you’ve got legitimate business plans for your creative startup and think, “if only I had a little extra money to get me started.” If that’s you, then you might want to continue reading.
Siouxland Growth Organization’s Innovation Market is Siouxland’s largest business idea & pitch competition. Siouxland GO has been inspiring innovation through this event for 12 years, giving away more than $60,000 with the help of our generous sponsors. In fact, you may have heard of a few of our previous winners… Jefferson Beer Supply (2021 1st place), The Warp Zone Arcade & Taproom (2020 1st place), Nightingale Coffee (2020 3rd place), Jackson Street Brewing (2015 1st place), Marto Brewing (2016 2nd place), and Lumin Therapy (2016 1st place) just to name a few. So how did these businesses win? Well, they all started with dreams just like yours.
How does the Innovation Market work? Entrepreneurs are encouraged to submit their business ideas and plans to Siouxland GO prior to the event via our website. Then, one of the coolest parts of the event is the community gets to attend and review the business ideas (posted anonymously) and vote for their favorites (while also enjoying free food & drink thanks to our sponsors).
Innovation Market Committee Chair, Ashley Vande Brake said, “It’s so exciting to hear
all the great ideas everyone comes up with and take us one step closer to our goal – For
the growth of Siouxland.”
Once all the votes are in, the top five advance on to the pitch event a few weeks later. The pitch is exclusive for top sponsors and Siouxland GO members to attend. At the pitch event, think Shark Tank. You’ll present your elaborate business plan and then answer questions to tell us why you deserve to receive funds to start up your business. Then, once sponsors and Siouxland GO members vote, the winning business idea receives $5,000 towards costs to startup their business. Plus, second place receives $2,500 and third $1,000. Then, the best part is we get to watch innovative ideas/dreams become a reality and watch businesses come to life.
If you’re reading this article and it’s sparked excitement in you and is motivating you to make your dream a reality, but you missed this year’s Innovation Market on May 5th, start planning today for Innovation Market 2023! Or if you want to be a part of inspiring innovation in the community and are interested in being on Siouxland GO’s Innovation Market committee reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of Siouxland GO, I want to thank all our sponsors for the 2022 Innovation Market, and the past 12 years, for partnering with us to inspire innovation in the Siouxland community.
By Grace Nordquist