WEDC contest offers $10,000 top prize for downtown business pitch

MADISON, WI. APRIL 13, 2021 – Help make Wisconsin’s downtowns vibrant and dynamic places to live, work and do business by submitting your best idea to the Wisconsin Main Street Downtown Pitch Contest. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will award $10,000 to bring the winning idea to life.

“Small businesses anchor our downtowns,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “These businesses and their owners and employees draw neighbors downtown and create the energy and vitality of downtown districts throughout the state.”

Bakers who sell at the farmers’ market who dream of owning a bakery, the home-based dressmaker ready for a boutique, the bookstore owner who is eyeing adding a coffee bar, the retailer who wants to expand their offerings, and the restaurateur who wants more seating are all eligible to enter.

The pitch contest is open to Wisconsin residents 18 and older with a for-profit business idea located (or planned to be located) in a community that is part of either the Wisconsin Main Street Program or the Connect Communities Program. Both existing and planned businesses are eligible, although businesses must be open and investments made no later than Dec. 31.

To apply, contact your local Main Street or Connect Communities program. A map and contact information for Main Street communities can be found on the WEDC website at:

Information on the Connect Communities Program can be found here:

Applications—including a five-minute video pitch—are due May 28. Contestants will then make a three-minute virtual elevator pitch to judges in regional semifinals the week of June 7. The winners of the regional competitions will compete in a state final on June 17.

The statewide winner receives $10,000 to carry out the business plan, while two second-place finishers each receive $5,000. The remaining nine regional winners will each receive $1,500.

Entries will be judged on the strength of the business idea and plan, creativity and innovation in the pitch video and business concept, and the quality and completeness of the application.

Find more information and an application form at: