Starke County Economic Development Foundation, Inc.

North Judson 2020 Business Pitch Competition Attracts Four Applications

North Judson, Indiana – The deadline for submitting applications for the 1st Annual North Judson 2020 Pitch Contest has now passed with four applicants submitting the required paperwork to participate in the event.  This event will be held on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at the North Judson Town Hall beginning at 7:00 pm (Central).  Pursuant to the rules of the contest, each of the applicants will work with the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center Business Advisor for Starke County during this next month to help sharpen their presentations, work on business plans, and receive aid and assistance as they proceed with their ideas.

The winner of the contest will receive a total prize of $10,000, assuming that their business grows or is established in North Judson after winning.  Additional cash prizes will be awarded to the second and third place finisher as well.  All in the community are invited to attend this event, and all efforts will be taken to adhere to the threat of COVID-19, including the mandatory wearing of face masks and social distancing.

This Business Pitch Competition is the brainchild of former North Judson resident Kirt Verhagen and his wife Elizabeth, who are hoping to spur growth in the business community of North Judson and have therefore agreed to provide the prize monies this year with the hopes that a bank or other person might step forward in the future to keep this idea moving forward.  The Verhagen family has been behind other efforts in the North Judson area, including work on the Trail Project, cooperative efforts with the local school corporation, and through the North Judson United Methodist Church. “While we no longer reside in North Judson, we still have family here and we would like to see growth in the community so that it will remain vibrant and a first choice for people looking for a great small town, just like we remember it being as we grew up.  We just felt like a gentle nudge might help the town grow and be prosperous in the future and this is why we have become more active,” said Kirt Verhagen.

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is assisting the Verhagen Family with planning and coordination of the event as part of their outreach program to assist new and growing businesses throughout the County.


The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is a not-for-profit local economic development organization (LEDO) providing economic development opportunities on behalf of Starke County, Indiana, the City of Knox, and the Towns of North Judson and Hamlet through the development of industrial parks, rail spurs, greenfield sites, shovel-ready sites, infrastructure and workforce development. For more information regarding the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, visit