The Pitchfork Challenge: Money and Momentum

What is The PitchFork Challenge?

The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship (HGC) created the PitchFork program in 2016 to coach business entrepreneurs to pitch their business investment opportunity on a quarterly basis to a room full of investors with a purpose to boost the startup rates in the Monadnock region. For the inaugural Radically Rural Summit in 2018, the Hannah Grimes Center will leverage the success of the PitchFork program into The PitchFork Challenge, where there will be prize money for the best pitch to a rural business entrepreneur.

Applicants can submit their business opportunities or business ideas to be reviewed by an esteemed panel of judges. There will be two tracks entrepreneurs can apply to, one for a business and one for a business idea.  Ultimately, one business winner will be chosen to receive a prize valued at least $10,000 in cash for the business track and one prize of $1,000 for People’s Choice Award that will advance a business idea forward.

The 2018 PitchFork Challenge application is now live!  Continue reading about our event or click the link below to apply.


See a list of the application questions HERE.

When does The Pitchfork Challenge happen?

The PitchFork Challenge will run from May to September, with a series of events narrowing down the finalists.  HGC will announce details through this website, social media channels and our newsletter. Stay tuned for new information regarding the below events.

July 31 – Application is due by end of business day at 5:00pm
August 15 – Required live pitch coaching event at 8:00am-12:00pm
August 23 – The PitchFork Challenge: semi-final live event at 5:00pm-7:00pm
August 29 – Finalists meet to develop final pitch at 8:30am-10:30am
September 27 – The PitchFork Challenge: final live event will be held during the Radically Rural Summit at 2:00pm-4:00pm and the Announcement Ceremony of the two winners will be during the CONNECT event at 5:00pm-7:00pm. Finalists will need to register for the CONNECT event. 

If you are interested in applying to this year’s PitchFork Challenge CLICK HERE.

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

Business Track:

  • Businesses must be for-profit
  • May not be more than three years old by September 1, 2018
  • May not have raised more than $250,000 in funding
  • May not have earned more than $250,000 in past year revenue

Idea Track:

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

What will I win?

  • For the business track: at least $10,000
  • For the idea track: $1,000 based on the People’s Choice Award

Want to learn more about PitchFork Challenge?

Register to attend one of the information sessions:

June 20: 12:00pm-1:00pm

June 28: 3:00pm-4:00pm

How do I enter and what is required?

Round 1: Application is due by July 31, 2018 at 5pm

CLICK HERE to apply

Round 2: Required live pitch coaching event on August 15, 2018  for the semi-finalists live event on August 23, 2018 for both the business and idea tracks

Semi-finalists will be notified of their status before the semi-finalist live PitchFork Challenge Event

The business track semi-finalists will prepare and present a 5-minute live pitch at the event on August 23, 2018 with accompanying pitch deck.

The idea track semi-finalists will prepare a 2-minute live pitch at the event without a pitch deck.

August 29 – Finalists meeting to develop final pitch at 8:30am-10:30am

Round 3: The PitchFork Challenge final event on September 27, 2018 during the Radically Rural Summit

Live pitch to the judging panel.

Finalists will be given the opportunity to submit their business plan and other supporting documents.

Finalists for the 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
  • Location
  • Pitch – pitch performance