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The Idea Challenge Finalists Announced

Posted by adminALT on November 12th, 2021

It takes real courage to start a business during a global pandemic. So much uncertainty in the market and spending patterns of customers could give an entrepreneur pause. The Eau Claire Area EDC is proud to announce five local entrepreneurs willing to take this challenge head-on.

One of the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation’s missions is to cultivate innovative thinkers and entrepreneurship. With use of The Idea Challenge, the Eau Claire Area EDC will help elevate five business ideas and help them launch or advance into the local marketplace.

The Idea Challenge is an annual contest where individuals in the Eau Claire area can submit their business idea for a new product, service, or process. Entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs submit their ideas to The Idea Challenge where the Eau Claire Area EDC then walks them through the process of taking an idea and moving it into the marketplace.

Launched by the Eau Claire Area EDC in 2007, The Idea Challenge has been supporting local entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers within our community for over a decade. In 2011, Northwestern Bank became the financial sponsor, giving The Idea Challenge the opportunity to offer cash awards and cover some business expenses for the winning finalist.

The Idea Challenge 2021 finalists are (in no particular order);

  • If & Buts, Candy & Nuts, Greg Clark – Candy and treat store located near Phoenix Park in Eau Claire.
  • For the Hobby, Sports Cards, Jordan Hagedorn – A local sports card boutique located in Eau Claire focused on having the coolest cards and the most fun customer experience.
  • Boat Seat Mule, Kevin Neff – Patent pending product featuring an umbrella, tool, rod holder, and drink holder that attaches to your watercraft seat. 
  • Bodega, Alyssa Rivera – An upscale convenience store offering unique products and events in downtown Eau Claire.
  • No Boundaries Tiny Homes,  Graham Barnes – The business utilizes quality, repurposed materials  acquired from deconstruction of buildings to build eco-friendly tiny homes that save both trees and landfill space.

The final pitches and awards ceremony will be held on December 9, 2021 – 10:30 am CoLab, 312 S Barstow, Eau Claire. The format will be 10 minute presentation, followed by 5 minute question & answers from a panel of judges.  The public is invited to attend the final pitches and awards ceremony and hear about new business they may see in the near future.

The Idea Challenge is open to any individual or company with an idea for a new product or service. For over a decade The Idea Challenge has been assisting entrepreneurs in getting connected to community resources, practicing their pitch, assisting in getting their idea into the market, and –of course- the chance to win $5000 in reimbursable business expenses to advance their idea! All finalists will receive $500 and several marketing and business services incentives to help launch their business idea.


Becca Coleman
Community Project Manager, Eau Claire Area EDC

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