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Deadline to apply for Ignite Rural Business competition is next week

Thursday, June 13, is the deadline for submissions to the Ignite Rural Business competition.

“We are igniting the spirit of entrepreneurship in Barton County!” said sponsors at Great Bend Economic Development.

The competition beckons entrepreneurs to sow their seeds of success in Barton County. This dynamic initiative equips new business owners and entrepreneurs with tools, resources, educational sessions, and investment opportunities, igniting a blaze of innovation and impactful entrepreneurship within the community. Participants stand to gain invaluable business exposure, mentorship, and the prospect of lucrative cash prizes. 

This competition aims to empower, support, and cultivate entrepreneurs in Barton County, sponsors said. “We’re looking for passionate individuals with creative and innovative ideas to join our mission of fostering a thriving business community. GBED has seen a diverse range of businesses, from startups to early-stage concepts. Some contestants are local, while others are eager to relocate to Barton.” 

Those who submit an application will refine their business plan and pitch with the support of GBED and the Ignite committee. GBED can connect contestants with valuable resources, including the Small Business Development Center and experienced local business mentors. They are helping businesses to polish their business plan and position themselves for success in the competition. 

A total of $95,000 in prize money is offered, with $50,000 going to the first-place winner. Beyond the financial boost, contestants will gain invaluable exposure for their business and ongoing support from the Barton County community. 

With the help of a dedicated team and partners like NetWork Kansas and the Small Business Development Center, GBED is committed to connecting businesses with the resources they need to thrive. A special thanks to NetWork Kansas for providing Venture Dash, the user-friendly portal for submitting applications and tracking your progress.

The competition unfolds in structured rounds, culminating in the electrifying Ignite Finale event on Oct. 10, where top contenders will shine. 

For complete details on the competition, including deadlines, requirements, and the application process go to If you want to become a mentor or sponsor the live event, get in touch with GBED President Sara Arnberger at

Sign up online

Eligible startups – those under five years old with 10 or fewer employees – are encouraged to seize this opportunity for growth and recognition. Applicants, aged 18 and above, must submit their entries by the June 13, deadline, with detailed guidelines and application forms available at Additionally, check out the overview video that provides insights into timelines, requirements for each round, and more.