Take The Floor aims to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Franklin County that empowers local entrepreneurs with the tools, networks and resources they need to launch their ideas into action. We imagine a future where local people create place-based solutions to solving some of our region’s most pressing challenges, while creating thriving jobs, businesses and organizations with deep roots in our region.
Take the Floor was created to support innovative ideas from budding entrepreneurs and provide the opportunity to access start-up capital to those who compete and win! Please remember that projects submitted must be Franklin County-based as this event is designed to support entrepreneurs wishing to do business in Franklin County.
You will have five minutes at Take The Floor to do just that—take the floor and deliver an “elevator” pitch for your business idea! Following your pitch, a panel of judges will engage you in a brief Q & A. Audience participants judges will vote to determine winning pitches for that evening’s contest—winners proceed to a final pitch event with the opportunity to compete for $3000 in prize money to support their business.
This is strictly YOUR show—so no electronic media (PowerPoint, projectors or video) allowed. All participants are eligible to receive free coaching and support on their pitches!
Working in partnership with local business, civic, non-profit and educational organizations and leaders, we will serve as a catalyst for incubating, launching and growing businesses that have a triple bottom-line impact on people and places in our region.
How Does It Work?
Take The Floor is a comprehensive and inclusive approach to developing and strengthening entrepreneurship in Franklin County. Thanks to our strategic partners, we provide local entrepreneurs from all walks of life in a series of offerings ranging from business development workshops, networking sessions and business pitch competitions that culminate in a final pitch competition where three winners will receive up to $3K each ($10K total) to advance their idea.
- Strategic Partnerships that Leverage Critical Resources
- Business development workshops, coaching and consulting provided by Greenfield Community College, LaunchSpace and the Franklin County Community Development Corporation (FCCDC)
Start-up and venture capital from investors and partners including Franklin First Federal Credit Union ($10K), GCC
- Entrepreneurship Fund and more to come!
- Free, Inclusive and Supportive Pitch Events
- These events are focused on identifying and supporting entrepreneurs focused on three key drivers of our regional economy: 1) creative entrepreneurship 2) food systems entrepreneurship and 3) small business entrepreneurship (less than 2 years old and between $10-50K in net revenue)
- Participants are offered free “pitch practices” to prepare for a 5-minute pitch followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from a panel
- The audience and panel vote for a winner from each category
- Free business planning & development workshops for category winners
- Category winners from each three pitch events are eligible for free coaching and business development support at GCC and will participate in a financial modeling and budgeting workshop with the FCCDC to best prepare them for the final pitch competition
- Final Pitch Competition
- Three finalists from the three funding categories will do a 10-minute pitch that shares their business model, identifies their customer(s), provides a projected three year budget and identifies their top 3 strategic priorities if they were to win the business investment incubator prize
- Audience and panelists vote for the winner in each category who will receive up to a $3K business incubation investment to support their endeavors
By providing a series of fun, inclusive and effective products, programs and services to entrepreneurs in our region, we aim to usher in a new era of economic growth and vitality in our region.
Key Indicators of Success
As we look to build a robust and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem that includes Take The Floor as a key component, the following indicators will inform all of the work we do.
- An entrepreneurial ecosystem rooted in diversity, equity and inclusion. We believe that solving our region’s most pressing challenges requires the best, most forward thinking perspectives from ALL of our residents. As such, we will serve ALL people and will intentionally partner with organizations who can help us reach underrepresented and vulnerable populations including BIPOC, low-income, people in recovery and folks coming out of prison.
- 100% of Pitch Contest winners and their ideas are deemed “credit worthy” from our bank partners within 6 months of winning the final pitch contest. We know it is critical to make sure precious resources are well leveraged. Through our wrap around services, we believe that Take The Floor will become a regional driver of new business creation in our region that become deeply rooted employers in our communities. And that these businesses will show a strong return on investment for our investors.
- Increase and diversify investors who support our Business Incubator Investment Fund for final winners. We seek to become a bright spot in rural innovation and economic development that users in new investments from angel investors, national companies and foundations and other social investors with a goal of a sustainable fund to support entrepreneurship for years to come.
Join Us in Building Franklin County’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem