What is The PitchFork Challenge?

A national rural pitch competition and complimentary program by Hannah Grimes Center which is comprised of the following:

  • 1 pitch clinic with Hannah Grimes Staff
  • 4 one on one pitch practices with the Program Director
  • 2 rounds of friendly pitch competition leading up to
  • 1 final pitch at the Radically Rural summit where you could win $10,000

*The PitchFork Challenge runs from August to September*

Why participate?

  • Chance to win $10,000
  • National print and digital media coverage
  • Valuable pitching and business skills
  • Networking opportunities with potential funders, customers, and peers
  • The support of your cohort and Program Director
  • A Free ticket to the Radically Rural Summit

2022 Pitchfork Semi-Finalists:

Register Here to Attend Semi-Finals

Previous Winners:

Jack’s Crackers – 2021 PitchFork Challenge winner. Used the $10 000 prize money towards a purchase of a new commercial oven to make More CRACKERS!

Frisky Cow Gelato – 2020 PitchFork Challenge winner. Used the $10 000 prize money towards a purchase of a new milk pasteurizer. And we all see Frisky Cow Gelato everywhere!

“The PitchFork process got me to rely on some of my business coaches and other people that have been supporting me along the way to really start to flush out that scale up plan.” – Linda Rubin, the founder and owner of the Frisky Cow Gelato

TotumVos Collagen Chews – 2019 PitchFork Challenge winner. Used the $10 000 prize money towards patenting the recipe for the chews.

Check out other previous PitchFork Challenge presenters.

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 gross revenue

What is required in my application?

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

Interested, but missed this year’s application deadline?

Fill out our quick interest form and we will reach out to you.


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

What do the different rounds of pitching look like?

Round 1: Submit a video of your best 6 minute pitch for the judges to review by Monday August 22nd by 12PM EST.

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

Round 2: 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 virtually.

  • Up to two people may be eliminated
  • Semi-finalists will receive feedback from judges

Round 3: 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
  • This event will be hybrid – Finalists may choose to pitch in person or virtually

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:

*All required dates will be hybrid, presentations may be in-person or virtual*

**All dates and times are in EST**

  1. Monday, July 25th (EXTENDED until July 29): The application is due by the end of the business day. APPLICATION LINK
  2. Wednesday, July 27th, 4pm – 5:00pm: Pitch Clinic with Hannah Grimes Staff – recording will be posted on the website afterwards for those who can not attend
  3.  Schedule a 1:1 with Program Director for pitch practice
  4. *REQUIRED* Monday August 22nd by 12PM EST.: Round 1: Submit a video of your best 6 minute pitch for the judges to review. *This is an elimination round*
  5. Schedule a 1:1 with Program Director for pitch practice
  6. Monday, August 29th & Wednesday, August 31st, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM: Schedule 1:1 pitch practice with Program Director – if these times do not work for you, Program Director will work with your schedule
  7. *REQUIRED* Thursday, September 8th, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Round 2: PitchFork Challenge semi-final event (Virtual-Livestreamed). *This is an elimination round*
  8. Schedule a final pitch practice with Program Director
  9. Wednesday, September 21st, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM: Finalists are encouraged to attend the CONNECT event in person
  10. *REQUIRED* Thursday, September 22nd, 10:00 am – 11:30 am: The PitchFork Challenge, the final LIVE event will be held during the Radically Rural Summit  (all PFC participants recieve free virtual or in-person tickets to the summit)
  11. *REQUIRED* Thursday, September 22nd, 4:00 PM: Announcement Ceremony of the winners will be during the Livability Slam event at the Radically Rural Summit


The PitchFork Challenge provides money and momentum for rural entrepreneurs in the form of a friendly business pitch competition. Rural entrepreneurs are coached to create a compelling pitch describing their business opportunity in pursuit of a cash award. Ultimately, one business owner is chosen to receive a $10,000 cash prize every year. 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 with the opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, develop relationships with investors, and build up the skill of talking about their business in a clear and succinct way. In 2022, PitchFork Challenge is going national. Rural entrepreneurs from across the country are welcom and encouragaed to apply as PitchFork will be a stand-alone session at Radically Rural 2022, drawing a larger audience than in previous years.

Watch the PitchFork Challenge INFO Session with Sara Powell

Watch the PitchFork Challenge 2021