The 2020 PitchFork Challenge: Money and Momentum

The PitchFork Challenge provides money and momentum for local rural entrepreneurs to apply to be part of a business pitch competition. Over the summer local entrepreneurs are coached to create a compelling pitch describing their business opportunity in pursuit of a cash award. There is a track just for entrepreneurs who have a great business idea, but need a little bit of cash to pursue that idea further! Apply today for the PitchFork Challenge Idea Track and pitch your idea to possibly win $1,000.  To learn more about the PitchFork Challenge visit our site!

Intake form

When does The Pitchfork Challenge happen?

The PitchFork Challenge will run from August to September, with a series of events narrowing down the finalists. The application link is below.

Who’s eligible?

The PitchFork Challenge is open to any resident and business that is located in the counties below with a population of 30,000 or less:

  • NH: Cheshire, Sullivan, and Hillsborough
  • VT: Windham, Bennington, and Windsor
  • MA: Franklin

Idea Track:

  • Business idea is for-profit
  • Business idea has not earned any or much revenue

What will I win?

  • For the rural idea track: $1,000
  • Print and digital media coverage in The Keene Sentinel

Winner Requirements:

  • Complete a business form for three years after the award is received
  • Document the first year with photos if applicable the use of the award and the impact of the award
  • Be available for social media, blog, and website marketing and promotion

How do I enter and what is required?

Round 1: Application is due by 8am Monday, August 3, 2020

  • Those who are accepted into the PitchFork Challenge will need to attend the pitch clinic on Thursday, August 6, 2020

Round 2: Required live pitch coaching event on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

  • Up to two people from each track may be eliminated
  • Semi-finalists will be notified of their status before the semi-finalist live PitchFork Challenge Event

Round 3: The small business track semi-finalists will prepare and present a 5-minute live pitch at the event on Thursday, September 3, 2020

  • The idea track semi-finalists will prepare a 2-minute live pitch at the event without a pitch deck.
  • Up to two people from each track may be eliminated.
  • Thursday, September 10, 2020 – Finalists for the rural small business track will meet with judges for Q&A and to develop their final pitch at 8:30am-11:30am by appointment

Round 4: The PitchFork Challenge final event on Thursday, September 24, 2020 during the Radically Rural Summit

  • Live pitch to the judging panel.
  • Finalists for the small business track will prepare and present a 5 minute live pitch at the Final Event with pitch deck.
  • Finalists for the idea track will prepare and present a 2 minute live pitch at the Final Event without a pitch deck.

How will I be judged?

You will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Traction
  • Team
  • Product
  • Market
  • Community benefit
  • Pitch – pitch performance

Important Dates For PitchFork Challenge Presenters:

  • Monday, July 27, 2020: Application is due by end of business day. See the list of questions here.
  • Thursday, August 6, 2020, 9:00am-10:30am: Pitch Clinic: Learn the key components of a good pitch (online)
  • Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 8:15am – 12:00pm: Round 1: Closed event with live pitch to the panel of judges (in-person)
  • Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 8am – 6pm (in person by appointment): Tech check and dress rehearsal of pitch
  • Thursday, September 3, 2020, 5:30pm – 7:30pm: PitchFork Challenge semi-final live stream event
  • Monday, September 21, 2020, 8:30am –  6:00pm (by appointment): Tech check and dress rehearsal of pitch
  • Thursday, September 24, 2020, 11:00am – 12:45pm: Live stream final pitch during session two of Radically Rural
  • Thursday, September 24, 2020, 5:00pm – 7:00pm: Live announcement of PitchFork Challenge winners at the closing keynote address at Radically Rural
Apply Today!