The I-69 Thumb Region, a seven county partnership, today announced the launch of the I-69 Thumb Region’s Catapult Your Business Competition.  This unique competition is both local and regional.  Each of the seven counties in Region 6 will host a local competition, and the winners will move on to the regional competition.  There will be cash prizes for the local and regional winners totaling $30,000.  The competition has been expanded upon a version held last year specifically for Craft Food & Beverage businesses.

The I-69 Thumb Region Catapult Your Competition aims to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners to start or grow their small businesses.  The competition will help retain and grow Michigan businesses by providing capital to launch, expand production and increase jobs.  The I-69 Thumb Region includes Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair and Tuscola.

Each of the seven participating counties will hold a county level competition in their community via a public pitch event awarding $2,000 to the first place winner and $1,000 to the second place winner.  County-level first place winners will move forward to compete for additional funds in the regional finale on September 21, 2017. 

The regional competition will award (via public pitch) $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place.  Competition prizes have been made possible by grant funding through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and additional sponsors.

The competition is utilizing an online process for applications and submittal of company information.  Interested companies or individuals are required to create a profile and answer a few questions about their business or business idea on the Startup Compete website using the following link:

Once this process is completed, competitors have until July 20 (extended from July 10)  to upload their maximum 3-page executive summary and upload pitch presentations of not more than 10 slides.  Competition judges will be using Startup Compete to review submissions and narrow the submissions down to no more than eight for the pitch event(s) to be held in August & September.

The Small Business Development Center and the Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of St. Clair County will be providing support to applicants that need technical assistance with registration, help writing the required executive summary or presentation coaching.

"We're looking forward to holding the Catapult competition this year in The Underground Incubator," said Dan Casey, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance.  "This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their product or service in the community where they live and do business, and to improve their presentation skills."

The dates of the countywide competitions vary throughout August and early September, with the regional competition following in September 21, 2017.   The local competition for St. Clair County will be held at The Underground Business Incubator and Service Center.  For more information about how to apply, please visit the Underground website at: or contact the EDA at 810-982-9511.