Since its inception in 2018, the Honeycomb HATCH Pitch Competition has assisted many entrepreneurs throughout the Chippewa Valley in improving their pitch, introducing them to capital sources, and mentoring them for the next stage of their development journey. By pitching to a panel of experienced judges during HATCH, these entrepreneurs get the exposure they needed, a chance for capital, and an opportunity to make valuable connections with the buzzing bees in the local business world. Dr. Drew Gintner, D.C. (Midwest Chiropractic Neurology) was chosen by the judges as the winner of the Honeycomb HATCH 2021, and was awarded $5,000. Gintner plans to release his product, the Hyper-Holster, once he identifies the right manufacturing partner.
Par our HATCH traditions, we also extend the power of choice to the audience. Audience members are able to vote for their favorite via an internet poll, and 2021’s winner, Rebecca Denney, received a free 3-month flex membership to CoLab and a $500 certificate to Badgerland Printing. Denney is the owner of Raybay’s Donut Co., a luxury donut experience here in the Chippewa Valley. She says that her secret of success is in the rich, buttery brioche yeast dough.
Scott Zielski, owner of SmartCare Software, talks about his experience with HATCH and with growing a successful business as an entrepreneur.
Several new additions were added in 2021; namely an interlude program called Honey Highlights. This was a five-minute presentation from a successful entrepreneur that was able to find success in the Chippewa Valley with the CEDC’s help. Both of the speakers were in fact past participants of Honeycomb HATCH! In addition, samples from local food entrepreneurs were distributed among the catering that brought variety and excitement to the table. Fast Fuel (Eau Claire), last year’s winner, provided their Energii Balls, Yellowstone Cheese (Cadott) provided cheese curds and cheese trays, and the Red Cedar Honey Farm (New Auburn) provided honey sticks and lemon honey water. They also provided beekeeping decorations that truly set the stage for Honeycomb HATCH. One of the presenters, Andrew Gehrke, even had his debut product, Old Fashioned cocktail syrup, available for attendees to try.