STARKE COUNTY, Ind. – The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is pleased to announce that Starke Tank 2022 will be a county-wide competition for small businesses looking to open or expand. Previously the competition required the winner to locate within three miles of North Judson. This year’s winner will be able to set up shop anywhere in Starke County.
Kirt Verhagen, who grew up in North Judson, funded the first event in 2020 to help his hometown to grow. The Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) and the Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) partnered in that endeavor, which took place at the North Judson Town Hall at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Abrams Studios won that competition and located their software development business in space leased from the North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation. They have since released two virtual reality video games.
Last year’s event, renamed Starke Tank, was held at North Judson-San Pierre High School. A total of 31 sponsors donated money for prizes, which were awarded to a winner and a first runner-up. The Point Drive-In in North Judson won the 2021 competition. The longtime business is under new ownership, which made it eligible to compete. Owner Cheryl Smith used the prize money to add a FlavorBurst ice cream machine and plans to make additional capital renovations to the property. Five Buds Farm, an event venue southeast of North Judson, was last year’s runner up.
Abrams Studios donated an Oculus virtual-reality gaming headset, valued at $300, as a door prize. The four brothers also updated the audience on their business and debuted the trailer for their newest video game. Additionally, each attendee received a free download of their first game, “Morels: The Hunt.”
“Starke Tank was so successful that our board of directors voted to expand it to a countywide event,” SCEDF Executive Director Lisa Dan said. “Broadening the base creates more opportunities to raise a significant amount of prize money and attract more participants who want to grow a business in Starke County.”
This year’s competition will take place on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at 6 p.m. CDT at North Judson-San Pierre High School. It will rotate through the county in subsequent years.
There is no cost for contestants to enter. They will receive free coaching from an SBDC advisor and will be required to participate in a dress rehearsal. Entry forms and a complete list of rules are available online at www.scedf.biz.
“Starke Tank” provides great exposure for the participants and the sponsors,” Dan said. “Audience members will learn about each business, and the sponsors will be featured in the event program as well as at the venue.”
Contact the Starke County Economic Development Foundation at 574-772-5627 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about Starke Tank 2022 sponsorships.