First Pitch will give local entrepreneurs and inventors the rare opportunity to win a prize for their idea and have their dream possibly become a reality.

The contest, hosted by Small Business Development Center, will be held during Wednesday's Start-up Your Night event at Brickhouse B2 Lounge, 2 W. Villard St.

The best business pitch winner will receive $100.

SBDC, along with Stark Development Corporation, have been hosting regular events for the business community.

Start-up Your Day invites businesses to tell about their journeys, and Start-up Your Night is a networking event.

"We've had a good attendance rate, with business owners and business resource and support elements mingling and having some drinks," Darrell Neubert, SBDC advisor, said. "We wanted to add a little something to try to get some aspiring entrepreneurs to show up."

The pitch contest will be done in the style of such TV series as "Shark Tank."

"If you have a new business idea concept, invention, or even an add-on to an existing business, you can come in and do a quick pitch," Neubert said.

Scheduled to serve as judges are Ryan Jilek, SBDC executive vice president; Mayor Scott Decker, and Dakota Community Banks President Jason Hopfauf.

Monthly First Pitch winners will be selected at each Start-up Your Night event throughout the year and awarded a cash prize. Winners will be eligible for Final Pitch Night in November and a grand prize.

The SBDC aims to help people who already know they want to start a business, Neubert said.

"It's also working with our resources to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship in the community," he said. "Start-up Your Day and Start-up Your Night are aimed at doing that. We thought this would be a fun element to get more people interested and pitching their ideas."

Neubert will also help prospective contestants with their pitch.

"If you're a little wary of pitching, we'll give you some tricks to the trade," he said.

Ryan Jilek, SDC executive vice president, called the new event an exciting one.

"First Pitch will bring a new dynamic and add context to our Start-up Your Night events," Jilek said. "These events were established to build and support an entrepreneurial ecosystem and First Pitch is just another way entrepreneurs can hone their ability to effectively tell their story, sell a product, or establish a relationship with their customers."

Participants will have three minutes to pitch their business idea, concept, product or invention. There will be two minutes for judges to question each participant.

Pitches are evaluated throughout the year by a panel of business and community leaders and one winner will be selected at each event.

Winners will receive $100 gift card, entry into the Final Pitch event, and support from business mentors to prepare for the final pitch.

To register, email, or contact Darrell Neubert, SBDC business advisor, at