Winners of local small business pitch competition announced
Council Bluffs, IA, November 2, 2022 - TS Bank and Advance Southwest Iowa, along with several additional supporting sponsors, are pleased to announce the winners of the REV pitch competition held Tuesday, November 1 at Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center where small business owners pitched for the chance to win $14,000 to grow their business. This year's winners include Nesting Grounds at $10,000 and Fermented Felon at $4,000.
Nesting Grounds is more than a coffee shop, it is a gathering place for family and friends to enjoy drinks and make memories. The new business has increased traffic, excitement and future economic vitality in Underwood with its recent grand opening October 15, 2022.
"Thank you so much to TS Bank, Advanced Southwest Iowa and other REV sponsors for this opportunity to showcase our business. Nesting Grounds was a dream that came into reality with the love and support of our families, friends, and the community as a whole,” said Jodi Bose and Kimberly Schneckloth, owners of Nesting Grounds. “These funds will not only help our business grow, but it will help our youth understand the importance of giving back to a community. It gives the community hope for future growth and it shows how with support of one another, we can all do great things.”
Nesting Grounds plans to use the $10,000 in REV funds for a new drive-through and walk-up light up menu boards, microphone system, headsets and patio lighting, shades and outdoor speaker system. As they grow their business, additional funds will be used for under the counter refrigerators.
Fermented Felon, a business making handcrafted kombucha using natural ingredients with a cause helping felons through fellowship, fortitude and friendship. The funds will be used for two new 1,000-liter variable volume fermenters to help defray production costs and will help their business into new areas.
“REV was such a great experience. The REV award will help us accomplish our goals of growing into a regional competitor,” said Tony Horner, owner and founder of Fermented Felon. “Thank you TS Bank, Advanced Southwest Iowa and all the sponsors for this opportunity and a big thanks for all the judges for lending their time and expertise.”
From the pool of 28 applicants, TS Bank and Advance Southwest Iowa selected five finalists to pitch to a panel of judges where contestants were evaluated on various aspects of their business. Judges included Josh Kallsen with PowerTech, Drew Kamp with the Council Bluffs Chamber, Matt Mancuso with Iowa Western Community College, Jamel Hamilton with Nebraska Enterprise Fund and Laurel Oetken with the Omaha Chamber.
All five pitches took place in front of a live audience, then the judges deliberated and decided how the $14,000 would be distributed.
This year’s finalists include Noble Provisions, East of Omaha, Fermented Felon, Nesting Grounds and First Row Fitness.
The three other finalists included Noble Provisions, a direct-to-consumer premium beef and pork producer, operating on their Cass County farm; East of Omaha, a one-of-a-kind event venue in Griswold and First Row Fitness, a fitness experience with life-changing, low-impact movement to improve client's lives.
Due to the overwhelming number of applicants, five business spotlights were selected as honorable mentions who were also involved in the event. This year’s spotlights included Does and Divas, Urentz, Iron and Willow, Lucy Mae’s Boutique and Your Forte. Through the polling system, Does and Divas was this year’s people’s choice winner receiving a $250 cash prize and special marketing package.
Pictured above is Dave Wise with TS Bank and Niki Ferguson with Advance Southwest Iowa presenting Doe's and Divas with their People's Choice Award winnings.
TS Bank originally started REV in 2015 in an effort to spur economic growth and encourage business owners to continue pursuing their dreams. In 2020, TS Bank and Advance Southwest Iowa partnered together to offer entrepreneurs and business owners the chance to "ignite their business." This year's event crossed the $114,000 threshold total awarded through this program.
The evening including networking, appetizers and a keynote message from Drew Harden, President and Co-founder of Blue Compass, an award-winning digital agency. Harden’s talk, “Powerful Ways to Persevere with Passion” discussed how to propel past the startup phase, plunge through problems and walk away with the power of passion to an audience with 135 people in attendance. The night concluded with the REV winner announcement party.
REV is hosted by TS Bank and Advance Southwest Iowa. Other major sponsors include Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and POWERTECH along with additional sponsors, Castle and Associates, Inc., Rachel Dorr Accounting, Vistage and Tandem Works.
If you have any questions or would like to receive information on next year's competition, please reach out to Kelsey Stupfell at TS Bank by calling 712.487.0334 or Niki Ferguson at Advance Southwest Iowa at 402.720.8799.
About TS Bank: TS Bank’s mission is to Ignite Prosperity® in the communities it serves. Leading the resurgence of community banking, TS Bank reinvests 10 percent of their net income locally; hosting educational events and partners with local organizations and non-profits. TS Bank was chartered in 1923 and has $365 million in assets, along with the largest Iowa state-chartered C-Corp trust department west of Des Moines at nearly $218 million in assets named TS Prosperity Group. Locations include Treynor, Macedonia, Atlantic, Corning, Council Bluffs and Ames, Iowa. For more information visit tsbank.com.
About Advance Southwest Iowa: Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation is the economic development organization for Council Bluffs and all communities in Pottawattamie County. Advance is a one-stop shop for economic development with a focus on business attraction, retention, entrepreneurship and site development. The Advance staff are proud to work alongside our many community partners to enhance the image and increase the tax base to make Pottawattamie County a prosperous and desirable community to live and do business. For more information visit advancesouthwestiowa.com.