The I-69 Thumb Region, a seven county partnership, today announced the launch of the I-69 Thumb Region’s Catapult Your Craft Food & Beverage 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 I-69 Thumb Region Catapult Your Craft Food & Beverage Business Competition aims to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners to start or grow their craft food or beverage businesses.  The competition will help retain and grow Michigan businesses by providing capital to expand production and increase jobs, grow value-added agriculture by establishing craft ag businesses that will increase value of local commodities, and expand assistance to communities throughout the region.

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. 

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 October 17 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.

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

“This is an exciting opportunity for craft agriculture and beverage businesses to increase awareness about their products,” said Dan Casey, Chief Executive Director of the EDA.  “These businesses make a big impact locally and this competition will give them a forum to launch their products into a more regional market.”

The St. Clair County competition is tentatively scheduled to be held on November 7.  The regional competition will be held in January in conjunction with the I-69 Regional Summit.  The date and location has not been finalized.

For more information about how to apply, please visit: or contact EDA at (810) 982-9511.

Media Contact: 

Dan Casey, CEO
Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County

About EDA:

The Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of St. Clair County is a private non-profit organization that provides general purpose economic development services throughout St. Clair County.  EDA offers a wide variety of services involving business recruitment and business retention with an overall goal of enhancing the quality of life for residents in St. Clair County.  The EDA is supported by a membership of over 100 businesses from the private & public sector.   

About the I-69 Thumb Region

The I-69 Thumb Region is rich in assets and opportunities.  Covering seven counties in eastern Michigan, the region has a wide range of agricultural richness, manufacturing know-how and transportation resources.  If it’s grown or created in the region or beyond we can transport it via rail, road, air or ship across the country and around the world.  The I-69 Thumb region includes Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair and Tuscola counties.