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The FAST-TRACK Challenge announced that Hobby Farmer Canning Co. is the 2019 FAST-TRACK Challenge 1st place winner.  The company is in the process of taking their new Switchel Fizz, non-alcoholic beverage, to the next level.   Jeff Cerise, Tod Novinska and Chuck Hermes, partners in the firm, plan to team up with Badger Hill Brewing Co. in Shakopee to bring their refreshing brew of apple cider vinegar, ginger and honey spiced with various flavors, to the retail market.   The company received $12,350 in start-up funds and professional services, as a part of their prize package. 

Second place was presented to Kendra Rasmusson of Farmhouse Market.  Kendra, and her husband Paul, are building on the grocery model they have developed in New Prague, to provide natural and organic foods to rural communities and food deserts. The entrepreneurs work with local farmers and food producers and use a technology based approach to provide 24/7 access for members.  Farmhouse Market received $6,130 in start-up funding and professional services.  

Third place honors went to Unlocked Golf, based in Shakopee.  Patrick Rients, Owner/Inventor, has developed a prototype of a golf swing speed trainer, designed with workout routines to increase a golfer’s swing speed.  The provisional utility patent has been filed for the product.  Unlocked Golf received $1,425 in start-up funds and professional services.

The three winners were among five finalists who were selected from applications submitted in August.  Over the past month, the finalists have met with representatives from Technology Village’s Board of Directors, Open to Business and First Stop Shop to practice their pitches and fine tune their business plans.  Finalists also included Incident Management Systems (Jordan) and Prowess, LLC. (Savage).  All five finalists impressed the judges with their business plans and market potential.

The panel of judges included Angela Heikes, President and CEO of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Gaming Enterprise; Charles Shannon, VP of Corporate Development Merrill Corporation; Kristin Haugen, Principal & Managing Attorney at KC Haugen Law, LLC.; Patrick McIntyre, VP of Strategy at Best Buy and Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director at Launch Minnesota.  

Sponsors of the 2019 FAST-TRACK included the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Scott County Community Development Agency & First Stop Shop, Minnesota Valley Electric Coop’s Operation Round-Up, Old National Bank and New Prague Chamber of Commerce.  Professional Service Providers included Argos Risk, KC Haugen Law, LLC., Neon Lizard Creative Graphic Design, Albert N. Aryee, CPA, Technology Village Prior Lake, Open to Business, the New Prague Chamber of Commerce, Prior Lake Chamber of Commerce, Savage Chamber of Commerce and Shakopee Chamber and Visitors Bureau.   Approximately $20,000 in start-up cash and professional services were awarded to the three winners.

This was the third annual Scott County FAST-TRACK Challenge.  The inaugural event, held in October 2017, received the Economic Development Association of Minnesota’s Program of the Year in January, 2018.  The 2019 FAST-TRACK Challenge event was recorded and segments will be available to view on the FAST-TRACK Challenge website at www.ScottCountyFastTrack in November.

The Scott County FAST-TRACK Challenge is a free, annual business competition designed to fast-track start-up and first-stage businesses to success.  For more information, to sign up as a sponsor or service provider for 2020 or register for the October 22, 2020 event, please visit:www.scottcountyfasttrack.com

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