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Local entrepreneurs pitch their big idea during ‘Big Idea Hastings’

Ten local entrepreneurs were chosen as the finalists to pitch their ideas during the Shark Tank...
Ten local entrepreneurs were chosen as the finalists to pitch their ideas during the Shark Tank inspired event.(Hailey Mach, KSNB)
Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 10:34 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The annual ‘Big Idea Hastings’ started up at The Lark 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ten local entrepreneurs were chosen as the finalists to pitch their ideas during the Shark Tank inspired event. This year’s was a little different from the past.

Big Idea organizer, Maggie Esch, said they had a few more sponsors than usual this year come forward to help make the event special.

“We’re celebrating year five of Big Idea Hastings so, we’re celebrating with a $5,000 grand prize,” Esch said. “Each year we have cash prizes associated with first, second and third but, we had the opportunity in celebration of year five to increase all of our cash prizes.”

She added, Central community college took things over this year to keep the competition up-and-going in Hastings for a reason.

“It was really important to keep that going because we live in a community where people really rally around our small businesses and we’ve seen some small businesses sprout up out of Big Idea Hastings,” she said.

The 2019 winner, Chelsey Morten, owns her own business, Lemon & Co., in the downtown area and gives credit to this event for much of her success.

“Really all the initial resources that you need to start a business were basically just handed to me to jumpstart me and that gave me a lot of confidence so really, Big Idea Hastings played a huge part in Lemon & Co. even starting.”

Morten continued, she was on the road as a sports coach at the time of the 2019 event and had to have her fiancé take over for her. This time around, she was able to attend the event for the first time and help others live out their dreams as well.

“I get to be a judge, I get to sit on the other side of the chair, which will be really fun, I’m super excited to hear all the ideas,” she said.

Entrepreneurs stepped up to pitch their ideas on The Lark stage in front of a panel of judges and a live audience at 6:30 p.m.

Jenna Thayer was the 2021 Big Idea Hastings grand prize winner, with her business idea called ‘Love Ewe Candle Company.’ Along with the cash, Thayer was also offered help getting her business plan together.

Second place was awarded to Anne Hessler with her pitch of ‘Nourish Cycling Studio;’ and third place — Rachel Reinke with ‘E Bar N Creamery.’

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