The FAST-TRACK Challenge is pleased to announce Steelhead Outdoors, Prior Lake, is the 2021 FAST-TRACK Challenge 1st place winner! Second place was presented to Baby Know, based in Shakopee, third place honors went to Mash, who is proposing to build a facility in Savage, and fourth place was awarded to Chefs Crest, also based in Savage.
The winners were among five finalists who were selected from applications submitted from April – August 2021. Over the past month, the finalists met with representatives from the Scott County Center for Entrepreneurship Board of Advisors and NextStage MN to practice their pitches and fine-tune their business plans.
- Steelhead Outdoors
An innovative, safe company offering the only modular, fire-insulated made-in-USA gun safe available quickly on the market. Long-time friends, engineers and avid outdoorsmen Corey Meyer and Charlie Pehrson – Co-Founders, created the patent-pending product that is now being manufactured in Prior Lake. They plan to add welders, assemblers, material handlers, design engineers and sales/customer service staff to their team as they grow.
- Baby Know
A speech-language pathologist, pediatric occupational therapist, professor, and two licensed early childhood, parent educators have teamed up to develop an online video program focusing on infant growth and development. The educational programming empowers parents to teach their babies activities, including speech, language & play, fine motor, gross motor, sensory processing development, vision, and general parent education. The BABY KNOW program also provides parents with mindfulness and positive affirmation activities to do for themselves, with their babies, and/or with their families. The company, developed by Candi (Walz) Seil, MPP, Caitlin Raaz, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Bethany DeJarnatt, MOT, OTR/L, Wendy Walz, Early Childhood/Parent Educator and Cinnamin (Walz) Theisen, Early Childhood/Parent Educator is based in Shakopee.
Thomas Buske, Steve McGuiggan, and Nate Stemper pitched their business plans to the FAST-TRACK judges. They currently operate MASH in Eagan, a sports and human development company. They are proposing a new, proactive approach to training athletes and inspiring an entire community of growth with a brand-new facility in Savage. Their current team includes strength training and a youth baseball club. They will expand services in physical therapy, chiropractic, nutrition, and psychology, providing collaborative resources for their clients. MASH will continue to promote a positive environment as a way to engage and develop the next generation through the creation of space and programming, coaching, and culture).
- Chefs Crest
Matthew Folefac, CEO, created Chefs Crest: The Home of Homemade Food, an online marketplace for homemade food. The platform makes it easier for home-based food businesses to sell their delicious homemade food products to individuals in their communities and beyond. The online platform allows home-based food businesses to gain customers through Chef Crest’s marketing strategies and benefit from online transactions. Matthew is a registered cottage food producer with a background in Neuroscience. He understands the struggles of starting a home-based food business, the importance of food on our health, and the importance of trusting communities. The company, based in Savage, was incorporated in 2021.
All finalists impressed the judges with their business plans and market potential.
The panel of judges included Angela Heikes, President, and CEO of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Gaming Enterprise; Charles Shannon, Senior VP of Corporate Development, Datasite; Joseph Fittante, Corporate Practice Chair, Larkin Hoffman; Kirt Briggs, Mayor of the City of Prior Lake and Sarah Jones, Chief Growth Officer of MemoryWell.
Sponsors of the 2021 FAST-TRACK included Silver Sponsors: Larkin Hoffman, Roundbank, NeonLizard Creative Marketing & Design, and the Scott County CDA. Bronze Sponsors included Minnesota Valley Electric Coop’s Operation Round-Up and First Bank & Trust – New Prague. Copper Sponsors include the New Prague Chamber of Commerce, Prior Lake Chamber of Commerce, Savage Chamber of Commerce, and Shakopee Chamber, and Visitors Bureau. Approximately $15,000 in start-up cash and professional services were awarded to the winners.
This was the fifth annual Scott County FAST-TRACK Challenge. The 2021 FAST-TRACK Challenge event was recorded, and segments will be available to view on the FAST-TRACK Challenge website at www.ScottCountyFastTrack in November.
The Scott County FAST-TRACK Challenge is a free, annual business competition designed to fast-track start-up and first-stage businesses to success.