Hormel Competition winners to be named Friday

Hormel Competition Winners
Monday, April 19, 2021

Six local entrepreneurs with ideas for start-up/expanding business have been named finalists for the 2021 Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition and are looking for a share of $25,000 in prizes.

Business and will make their final presentations Friday at McCook Community College's McMillen Hall, room 213. Because of directed health measures, members of the community will not be allowed to hear presentations this year and each of the presenters are limited to five guests.

This year's six finalists include:

* - Heritage Acres Drive-thru Market, Chris and Paul Sandberg, Stratton (Hitchcock County) -- expanding their farmer's market established in July 2020, selling their own products and food items from other producers. They specialize in foods grown sustainably by small producers.

* - Happy's Feed Store and Fuel Center, Camie Cox, Wauneta (Hitchcock County) -- a business startup plan for a 24-hour fuel station with food, drinks, snacks and a full inventory of bagged animal feed, mineral and supplements.

* - Katie Farrell Yoga & Pilates, McCook (Red Willow County) – a plan to expand her one-on-one reformer pilates personal training, private yoga and mat pilates sessions, in-person and online/virtually, group yoga and mat pilates.

* - Travis Henne Repair, McCook (Frontier County) -- expanding an ATV/UTV repair shop specializing in repairing Polaris, Suzuki and Kawasaki repairs and other brands.

* - Becky Wallen Videography, McCook (Red Willow County) -- starting up a full-service video and film business for weddings and events, and for businesses needing video for websites, social media, workshops or other presentations.

* - Impact Closet Boutique LLC, Casha and Dan O'Byrne, Culbertson, (Hitchcock County) -- expanding their mobile women's clothing boutique based from their driveway, taking their 30-foot, enclosed mobile shop throughout the area.

These finalists will make their 30-minute presentations Friday at McMillen Hall starting at 1:15 p.m. Judges will deliberate at 4:30 p.m. with the winners announced at 5:30 p.m. The competition was open to participants with a startup business idea or an existing business that has been operating no more than five years, who were looking to expand in southwestern Nebraska (consisting of Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, and Red Willow counties.)

According to Sharon Kircher, Mid-Plains Community College Business & Community Education Coordinator, because of COVID-19 challenges, the college is only allowing 50 percent occupancy in each room and masks must be worn when participants enter the building and in the hallways.

Since finalists will be social distancing, they won't have to wear masks during their presentation. All other occupants in the room must wear their masks if closer than six feet apart. Each contestant is only allowed five guests into the presentation room this year and once the presentation is complete, the room will be cleared for the next contestant and their five guests.

The competition opened Nov. 1. Judges selected semifinalists who received scholarships (valued at about $336) to attend a mandatory eight-week online Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing class offered through Mid-Plains Community College this spring.

Kircher said the main objective of the Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition at McCook Community College is to stimulate entrepreneurship and support business expansion in southwest Nebraska.

Past winners of this plan have included: Citta' Deli, Game On Games, and The Loop Brewing Company and the 2019 winner, Tyler McCarty's Saltwater Hills, bringing a shrimp farm to the area.

The Hormel Family Foundation was founded in 1999 by the late Ben F. Hormel, a McCook entrepreneur, to support McCook Community College. Among his many business ventures, Hormel operated the Chevrolet dealership in McCook. When he passed away in 2002, he passed on the torch to his children and grandchildren, who operate the foundation today.

Their foundation is committed to education, entrepreneurship and business development in the McCook and southwestern Nebraska economic region. They believe that education and entrepreneurship are the strongest weapons against the population loss.

This year's sponsors are: McCook Economic Development, MNB, McCook Community Foundation Fund, Community Hospital, McCook Community College Foundation, McCook Community College, a Division of Mid-Plains Community College, and the Hormel Family Foundation.