SHELDON—A second N’West Iowa business has been selected to participate in the finals for the Dream Big Grow Here 2018 Northwest Iowa Regional Contest.
Dream Big Grow Here is an annual competition sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Business Growth and Innovation.
SnSLabz, owned by teenage cousins Daniel Stillson of Rock Rapids and Carter Schuurmans of Minnesota, was awarded a spot in the finals on Nov. 2, after Gnarly Pepper of Sioux City opted to withdraw.
Sara Gotch, owner of Gnarly Pepper, said the business will be relocating to the central Iowa area in 2019, and it was decided that the prize money from Dream Big Grow Here should remain in northwest Iowa.
SnSLabz is a 3D printing business, creating electronic stands and customized mouse pads.
“When we got the e-mail that we were picked for the Dream Big Grow Here contest, we told our parents as soon as we could,” Stillson said. “That moment was so amazing for us and our business. This really got us going and helped push us to make our presentation the best we could.”
SnSLabz joins JAK Sprat of rural Sanborn, owned by Jodi Krikke, and three other finalists — Lefty Leigh’s and Cassens Catering of Oto, Heartland Coffee & Nosh of Correctionville and Joyency of Sioux City — for the pitch-off event at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Crossroads Pavilion event center in Sheldon.
The finalists will give presentations to a panel of judges with the winner receiving $4,000, second place receiving $2,000 and third place receiving $1,000 to grow their business.
Stillson thinks SnSLabz has a great chance of getting the award as SnSLabz and the young entrepreneurs wasted no time in preparing for the pitch.
“Right when we got the e-mail, we started working on our presentation and we are ready for the pitch,” he said. “Yes, we are very prepared for the upcoming pitch. We are meeting each other this weekend to get some practice pitching our presentation together.”
The annual contest kicked off Oct. 9, with online voting and 14 competitors. Voting ended Oct. 19. The top three vote-getters — Lefty Leigh’s, JAK Sprat and Heartland Coffee — were automatically placed in the finals, and the Dream Big Grow Here committee chose the other two finalists.
Gnarly Pepper will have a booth and be present at the pitch-off event to support fellow finalists.