Learn how to succinctly talk about your business and connect with potential customers, mentors and investors in the community.  This is a great opportunity to connect your business and its growth opportunities to potential investors with an interest in supporting local economic growth and whose resources extend beyond just financial to include valuable networks, experience, resources and skills.

If you are selected, this program coaches you to create an effective 5-minute presentation and culminates in a live event competition. As the entrepreneur, you will work with a panel of professional business advisers and consultants to hone your pitch.  You will also have access to these coaches for the full period prior to the event.

The winner of the event will go straight to the semi-final round of the PitchFork Challenge for an opportunity to win $10,000 cash award for their rural startup business if the winner then progresses to the final pitch event on September 19, 2019.

As dictated by SEC rules, the event itself does not allow a direct ask of funding, but it does allow investors to learn about your business opportunity and can allow for connections after the event.  If you’re looking for funding for your business or organization, please contact us directly to for more information about PitchFork.  If this program isn’t a fit for you, we can also make suggestions about other good funding sources for your startup or growing business.

To Apply: Complete and submit your application. Every business opportunity varies, so complete the application to the best of your ability. If you are not able to answer or supply the required documents, please let us know (programs@hannahgrimes.com). Don’t be discouraged to apply, we can help develop the materials.

See the list of questions and materials needed HERE.

How do I enter and what is required?

Round 1: Application and this completed intake/tracking form is due by midnight on Monday, February 4, 2019

Round 2:  Required Pitch Clinic on Wednesday, 2/13/2019 from 9:00am – 10:30am

Required live pitch coaching event on Wednesday, 2/20/2019 from 8:30am- 12:00pm

The entrepreneur will prepare and present a 5-minute live pitch at the event with accompanying pitch deck

Round 3: The PitchFork  event on Thursday, 3/14/2019 from 5:30pm-7:30pm

Required dress rehearsal on 3/14/2019 at 2:00pm until 4:00pm

Live pitch to the judging panel.

Who’s eligible?

PitchFork 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

Rural Startup Business:

  • Businesses must be for-profit and has earned revenue
  • May not be more than three years old by September 1, 2019
  • May not have raised more than $250,000 in funding
  • May not have earned more than $250,000 in past year revenue
  • May not have participated in the business track pitch events from 2018 PitchFork Challenge

What Will I Win?

  • The winning rural startup business entrepreneur will go straight to the PitchFork Challenge Semi-final event. The winner will need to attend all of the PitchFork Challenge events that lead up to the semi-final event (see the important dates here)

How will I be judged?

You will be judged on the following criteria and through the lens of community benefit which should be addressed in the pitch:

  • Traction
  • Team
  • Product
  • Market
  • Location
  • Pitch – pitch performance