Scott County’s FAST-TRACK Challenge

Last year at this time, Melanie Cole and Vicky DeRouchey, of Prior Lake, were busy preparing their application for the Scott County FAST-TRACK Business Challenge. This year, the co-founders of ugo wear have been busy preparing a video hoping to advance to the third round of auditions for the Emmy Award-winning entrepreneur television show Shark Tank.

Their goal is to earn a spot on a fall episode where they can pitch their ugo and seek funding from a Shark. The entrepreneurs impressed Scott County FAST-TRACK Challenge judges during their October 2018 pitch resulting in the award of various cash and professional business service prizes. Melanie and Vicky strongly encourage other entrepreneurs to take advantage of this local business challenge.

Applications are now being accepted for the local “Shark Tank”-like business challenge. The award-winning challenge provides entrepreneurs with the resources to develop or fine-tune their business plan, develop a pitch for their business and potentially be selected as a finalist to compete for mentorship, cash, and professional services to help the business succeed. The competition is free to enter and there is no minimum age requirement. In order to be eligible individuals must reside within Scott County and be willing to locate their business in Scott County or have an established business in Scott County, have a new product or service; have a viable product or service idea and be willing to participate in the FAST-TRACK Challenge live event.

Evaluation of applications will occur the beginning of September, with finalists being announced mid-September. Practice pitches with the Technology Village Board and Open to Business will take place the end of September and early October, with the FAST-TRACK Challenge Competition to be held on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at Prior Lake City Hall. Business ideas will be evaluated on the product concept and potential viability, potential to create jobs with livable wages, creation of a product that addresses the identified focus areas, among other criteria.

2018 FAST-TRACK Challenge winner Alan Tholkes of Medthera encourages businesses with new product ideas to apply.

He noted, “The FAST-TRACK Challenge really helped improve my skill at pitching our product and Business. I feel more confident in getting others excited about what we have to offer. Also, I made some good connections and the prizes certainly help as well. It was a great experience that I would recommend to all entrepreneurs”.

For more information contact Jo Foust, Business Development Specialist at 952-496-8830 or, and to view the press release, please click here.