What is The PitchFork Challenge?

The PitchFork Challenge provides money and momentum for local rural entrepreneurs in the form of a friendly business pitch competition. Local entrepreneurs are coached to create a compelling pitch describing their business opportunity in pursuit of a cash award. Ultimately, one business owner will be chosen to receive a $10,000 cash prize. For the inaugural Radically Rural Summit in 2018, the success of the Hannah Grimes PitchFork Program was leveraged into the PitchFork Challenge, which provided local entrepreneurs in eligible counties looking to get their business name out to a wider audience, meet like-minded entrepreneurs, develop relationships with investors, and build up the skill of talking about their business in a clear and succinct way.

The 2022 PitchFork Challenge Goes National!

This year’s final live pitch will be held on Thursday, September 22, 2022, as part of the Radically Rural Summit

If you’re unsure if you should apply – come talk to us! Or if you’ve never pitched before and are nervous about talking about your business- don’t worry! Our program director will help you develop your presentation and practice with you. Don’t think “Shark Tank”. This is a very supportive and friendly pitch competition. The PitchFork Challenge is a great opportunity to get your business name out to a wider audience, meet new people who are building a business just like you and others who like to support small businesses and build a skill of talking about your business in a clear and succinct way.

Apply Here!

If you are not able to answer or supply the required documents for the application, please let us know (programs@hannahgrimes.com) as we can help develop the materials with you.

When does The Pitchfork Challenge Program happen?

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

Who’s eligible?

The PitchFork Challenge is open to any resident and business that meets the following requirements:

  • Business must be located in a town with a population of 30,000 or less
  • Business must be for-profit and is currently earning revenue
  • May not have won the PitchFork Challenge Rural Small Business Track in previous years
  • May not have raised more than $250,000 in funding
  • May not have earned more than $250,000 in past year revenue

What will I win?

  • $10,000
  • National print and digital media coverage

Winner Requirements:

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

How do I enter and what is required?

Round 1: Application is due by the end of business day on Monday, July 11th, 2022

Required documentation you will need to upload throughout the application process includes:

  • Company Logo
  • Company Tax Filing 2021
  • Profit & Loss Statement
  • Current Balance Sheet
  • Cash Flow Projections for 2022
  • Business Plan

Round 2: Required live Closed Round pitch event on Wednesday, August 10th, 2022, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Hannah Grimes Center- participants will present their 6-minute pitch to a panel of judges

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

Round 3: Required Semi-Finals event on Thursday, September 8, 2022, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM – semi-finalists will prepare and present their 6-minute pitch to the judges and audience.

  • Up to two people may be eliminated.
  • Tuesday, September 15th, 2022 – Finalists for the rural small business track will meet with judges over Zoom for Q&A and further develop their final pitch at 5:00 PM -7:00 PM by appointment

Round 4: Required: The PitchFork Challenge final event on Thursday, September 22, 2022, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM during the Radically Rural Summit

  • Live pitch to the judging panel and live audience

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 (REQUIRED for Participation):

*All dates and times are in EST*

  1. Monday, June 27th, 3:00 PM – 4:00: PM PitchFork Challenge Info Session
  2. Monday, July 11th: The application is due by the end of the business day. APPLICATION LINK
  3. Wednesday, July 20th, 3:00 PM: PitchFork Challenge overview info session for accepted Applicants
  4. Wednesday, July 27th, 4pm – 5:30pm: Pitch Clinic with Hannah Grimes Staff – including an example pitch from a previous participant
  5. Monday, August 1st, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM: Schedule a 1:1 with Program Director for pitch practice
  6. Wednesday, August 10th, 5:00 PM – 7:00PM: Round 1: Closed event with a live pitch to the panel of judges
  7. Monday, August 15th & Wednesday, August 17th, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM: Schedule a 1:1 with Program Director for pitch practice
  8. Monday, August 29th & Wednesday, August 31st, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM: Schedule 1:1 pitch practice with Program Director
  9. Thursday, September 8th, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: PitchFork Challenge semi-final event (Virtual-Livestreamed)
  10. Tuesday, September 15th, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM (Zoom by appointment): Finalists meet with the judges for Q&A
  11. Monday, September 12th, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Schedule a final pitch practice with Program Director
  12. Thursday, September 22nd, 10:00 am – 11:30 am: The PitchFork Challenge, the final live event will be held during the Radically Rural Summit (In Person)
  13. Thursday, September 22nd, 4:00 PM: Announcement Ceremony of the winners will be during the Livability Slam event at the Radically Rural Summit
  14. Finalists will need to register for the CONNECT event. (In Person)

Watch the PitchFork Challenge 2021