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Introducing the Wildcard Round for the IGNITE Rural Business Competition
GBED Inc logo

Great Bend Economic Development (GBED) announces the addition of a dynamic Wildcard Round to the IGNITE Rural Business Competition. This new round is designed to provide a unique opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs in Barton County, inviting them to submit their innovative business ideas and compete for a substantial investment.

Submission Guidelines:

Video Pitch Submission: Participants are required to join the IGNITE competition through and the VentureDash platform. Once they enter the competition, they will submit a video pitch of up to five minutes, introducing themselves, describing their business idea, explaining the crucial need for the $50,000 investment, and articulating their desire to do business specifically in Barton County. These video pitches will be uploaded by the GBED staff to the IGNITE Facebook page and website, allowing the community to engage with and support their favorite entries.

Timeline: The video pitches will be live on IGNITE’s platforms from July 15th to July 26th, giving the public ample time to view and vote for their favorite submissions.

Meeting with SBDC: To ensure comprehensive business planning, wildcard applicants must meet with Susan Penka at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). A completed business plan must be submitted by the end of the day on July 26th, demonstrating their preparedness and dedication.

Additional Requirements: Wildcards are encouraged to seek mentorship, secure a business location (if applicable), and take any additional steps to enhance their business readiness. Those selected to advance must be prepared to present in person to the board.

Scoring Criteria for Wildcards:

1. Strength of Business Plan (30 points): Evaluation of the completeness, feasibility, and clarity of the submitted business plan.

2. Public Video Vote (40 points): Public engagement and support will be gauged through votes and engagement metrics on the IGNITE Facebook page.

3. Extra Effort (30 points): Points awarded for any exceptional efforts beyond the basic requirements, such as additional research, community outreach, or innovative strategies showcased in the video pitch.

Leveling the Playing Field: Wildcard entrants, despite a slight disadvantage in timing, have the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment and potential through their efforts and the quality of their submissions.

Ensuring Deserved Advancement: Only the most dedicated and prepared wildcard entries will progress to the next stage, ensuring that all contestants in the main competition are equally respected for their achievements.

The IGNITE Rural Business Competition is committed to fostering entrepreneurship and supporting local businesses in Barton County. GBED believes that the addition of the Wildcard Round will not only enhance the competition but also provide a platform for more entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas and drive economic growth in our community.

For more information, visit the IGNITE Facebook event page or website (, or reach out to GBED staff at info@gbedinc.comor 620-796-2407.