posted on 1/18/22

The economic development organizations in Marion County, Iowa are teaming up to offer Red Rock StartUP! which is a new business pitch contest. The Red Rock StartUP! contest is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or expansion of their new current business. The contest allows entrepreneurs the chance to submit their dreams to start or expand a new business less than 3 years old.

“As we work to diversify our economy, there is not better economic development strategy than encouraging residents to start a business, explained Carla Eysink, MCDC Director.  “We are excited to work together to bring this pitch event to our area and hope it will encourage young and old to be thinking about the opportunity for business ownership.”

To enter, simply submit the online entry form OR a video of up to 4 minutes pitching your business and a 2-page Executive Summary.  A panel of business expert judges will select the finalists for Round Two.  Finalists will also receive one hour of personalized business coaching to improve their pitch.

In Round Two, finalists will present their idea to an audience and judges in a live in-person pitch-off event for a chance to win cash prizes.  There are two divisions in the contest:  Youth and Adult.

From now until February 25, entrepreneurs in Marion County, Iowa can submit their new business or startup ideas.  Receive complete rules and information by visiting or email  Entries must be received by February 25 before 3 p.m.

The Red Rock StartUP! pitch contest will be held April 7 at the Gathering Grounds, where the finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas.     In the Youth Division, sponsored by the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, the first-place winner will receive $500, second-place $250, and third place will receive $125.  In the Adult Division, sponsored by the PACE Alliance, DMACC Business Resources and Marion County Development, the first-place winner will receive $2,500, second-place $1,000 and third place will receive $500.

The Red Rock StartUP! contest is sponsored and organized by the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, DMACC Business Resources, PACE Alliance and Marion County Development.  In-Kind sponsors include The Gathering Ground.

Learn More...

To enter, complete the online entry form OR submit your video (via OneDrive or link) and executive summary to,