MOUNT STERLING, Ill. — Aspiring Brown County small business owners are competing for a $20,000 cash prize to help their business idea become a reality.
The competition culminates with a pitch contest open to the public at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 11 in the Brown County High School auditorium. Each competitor will pitch their business to a panel of judges and the audience. At the end of the evening, the $20,000 winner of the first Brown County Business Start-Up Competition will be selected based on their written business plan, pre-pitch interview and their pitch. The audience will also have a 10 percent stake in selecting the winner and will vote on their favorite.
The competition hopes to be a catalyst to aspiring business owners to develop and open a viable Brown County business. It started two months ago with 17 entries. Competitors attended three workshops to help them develop their ideas. Five finalists were selected based on their business plans and invited to share their pitch publicly.
The five finalists and their businesses are:
- Kylie Carr. Ice Candy is a mobile dessert stand, known for selling regular and Hawaiian shaved ice including a variety of flavors and toppings. Ice Candy will be available to book for events and travel to community attractions, such as the Brown County Fair.
- Jeff Schmitz. Two Wheels Trading Co. will offer full service and repairs of bicycles. Accessories will be sold, including safety items such as helmets, along with components like tires and brake pads. Two Wheels Trading Co. will offer educational courses focused on cycling safety and maintenance.
- Alana Boylen. Green Flamingo Grill is a bar and grill concept, offering a location where family and friends can enjoy a “beer and burger” while catching a game on TV. Green Flamingo Grill will be a burger-centric dining establishment specializing in a unique hand patty smash burger.
- Timothy and Mason McFadden. The Lions Realm is a locally owned establishment selling comic books, cards, collectibles, and novelties and offering a place for families and friends to gather, compete and play. The Lions Realm will host tournaments and offer classes to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering.
- Mat and Colleen Loehr. Loehr’s Locker will offer custom processing of beef, pork, and venison to help alleviate the shortage of custom butcher shop availability. Utilizing a staged approach, Loehr’s Locker’s future plans include selling prepackaged meat and eventually, a space to offer breakfast and lunch.
Only one business will receive the $20,000 prize, but all competitors will receive support with educational presentations that focus on business legalities, retail best practices and the financial basics of getting a business started.
The Brown County Business Start-Up Competition, sponsored by Action Brown County, is made possible through a grant provided by the Tracy Family Foundation. More information can be found at
Action Brown County is a nonprofit organization that enhances Brown County by inspiring community, celebrating Hornet spirit, and promoting economic growth.
The Tracy Family Foundation was established in 1997 by the Robert and Dorothy Tracy family to advance innovative, collaborative and sustainable change in Brown County and the surrounding region through organizations that share the values of family, faith, education, leadership, and community. It has awarded nearly 6,000 grants for more than $50 million.
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