A Western Iowa bank wants to help small businesses so it’s giving away $25,000.
TS Bank—located in Western Iowa—is hosting its third annual “REV” pitch competition to help small businesses. REV is a pitch competition for entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to win up to $25,000 to “REV” up their business.
The $25,000 prize is the total amount given away each year but has been divided up over the past two years to multiple businesses. But if the judges feel strongly about one candidate, it’s possible that business could receive the entire $25,000.
Steven Brockshus—founder of Terva.ag—was one of the winners in last years competition and walked away with $5,000.
“It was an incredible experience,” Brockshus said. “The event was different than any other one I’ve been to. TS Bank really personalized it for the startups and created a welcoming enviorment for each founder to connect with the community.”
Brockshus says he still keeps in contact with people he met that day.
Rachel Cain, Marketing and Event Coordinator for TS Bank, said TS Bank reinvests ten percent of the companies pretax income back into the communities it serves. And while they’ve done a lot to help local youth, they weren’t doing as much to help small businesses succeed.
Until the TS Bank CEO Joshua Guttau watched “Shark Tank.” So TS Bank created its own “Shark Tank.”
“As a community bank we are always looking for community or local impact,” Cain said. “Like all startups, what’s your business problem and solution that you are bringing to the market and consumers.”
Guttau said he was surprised by the companies that have pitched, saying, “There are business ideas that I’m hearing and I’m thinking this is going on in our own backyard?”
After the Oct.1 deadline, 20-25 applications will be selected and those businesses will be asked to pitch on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11 at the Council Bluffs branch of TS Bank. From there, five businesses will be selected as finalists and will pitch on Dec. 1 for a chance to win capital for their business.
The final pitch competition will be held at “The Venue” within Harrahs in Council Bluffs.
“We basically said anyone willing to come and pitch is able to apply,” Cain said. “You don’t have anything to lose to get your business out there. And even if you don’t make it to the top five, it helps get the word out and connect with us and potentially other startups that could be helpful.”
Applicants are due by Oct. 1 and can be accessed here.