Community Update – Entrepreneurs: Hurry! Compete for Your Idea to “Hatch” Into a Business, Crowdfunding: Supporting Local Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurs: Hurry! Compete for Your Idea to “Hatch” Into a Business

A unique opportunity is opening up for entrepreneurs, creatives, business professionals, organizers and investors to get their business ideas out in front of a supportive community, in an interactive and inspirational way.

Wisconsin Rapids has been chosen to host HATCH, a regional competition for entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas that launch new companies in central Wisconsin. With a deadline for submission of tomorrow, May 17th, don’t delay! The event takes place Wednesday, May 24, at Golden Eagle Log Homes, 4421 Plover Road.

During our HATCH competition, presenters will have five minutes to pitch in front of a panel of judges – one of whom will be City of Wisconsin Rapids Director of Community Development Adam Tegen – for the chance to win a $2,000 award. The winner will then be able to take her/his idea to the next step, for the chance to win another $10,000 in November at the finale, contending against winners of other HATCH programs being held in other north central communities. Even more fun and intriguing is that attendees who make up the live audience also will vote.

As someone who has created and grown a business myself, I am excited that Wisconsin Rapids could well be the home base for the next great business idea.

HATCH is free and open to the public, who will be treated to complimentary drinks, as well as appetizers from Great Expectations. I urge area residents to take part.

Crowdfunding: Supporting Local Entrepreneurs

This past November, I was proud to share the exciting news that Wood County had been selected as the only site in Wisconsin to put into operation a crowdfunding site through The Local CrowdTMThis fundraising model empowers entrepreneurs to raise capital for a business by accepting small dollar amounts online from friends, family, customers and/or individual investors. This approach also enables entrepreneurs to offer investors more ways to contribute, ranging from financial investments in exchange for equity, to small-scale donations in exchange for a first-run product or other reward.

The Local Crowd also offers practical, locally oriented tools such as software, consulting and instruction (in-person and online), for groups and individuals at the government, business and nonprofit organization levels to help nurture the dreams of our entrepreneurs. This taps into our ongoing commitment to broad-based community engagement.

Here’s a prime opportunity for our community to donate to a campaign that grows our economic vitality and helps a small business right here in Wisconsin Rapids to thrive.

I enthusiastically call on local residents to place your support – and dollars – behind the crowdfunding campaign of Higher Grounds Bakery & Coffee Shop , a full-service bakery and organic Fair Trade coffee house that provides specialty products to order for walk-in customers and businesses. To do your share, visit the Higher Grounds Local Crowd site, anytime through May 31.

Founded and operated by Jacalyn Bowman, Higher Grounds has attracted clients such as Sand Valley Golf Course, It’s the Pits BBQ and local paper mills. Higher Grounds also participates in community events such as the Community Picnic, and donates to community charities like The Family Center, and The Boys and Girls Club.

To better serve her base of local customers and meet increasing demand for Higher Grounds’ freshly produced bakery goods, Jacalyn needs to purchase a larger proofer to facilitate the fermentation of dough, a walk-in freezer and additional refrigeration. She also seeks to improve building signage to increase visibility and draw in new customers.

In recognition of its business success and community involvement, Higher Grounds was recently honored as a 2017 winner of SCORE’s American Small Business Championship competition.

As Jacalyn puts it, “Plant your money on your community main street, and watch it grow!”

Learn more about local businesses in this monthly segment Community Business Matters with Wisconsin Rapids Community Media Assistant Multimedia Specialist Jesse Austin and co-host Carla Lenk of North Central Community Action Program.

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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