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Attention Entrepreneurs: Don’t Miss Out, the Deadline to Apply for IGNITE Rural Business Competition is Next Week


By Great Bend Economic Development, Inc.


Ignite Rural Business LOGO RGB-01GREAT BEND, Kan. — The IGNITE Rural Business competition beckons entrepreneurs to sow their seeds of success in Barton County. This dynamic initiative equips new business owners and entrepreneurs with tools, resources, educational sessions, and investment opportunities, igniting a blaze of innovation and impactful entrepreneurship within the community. Participants stand to gain invaluable business exposure, mentorship, and the prospect of lucrative cash prizes.

This competition aims to empower, support, and cultivate entrepreneurs in Barton County. We’re looking for passionate individuals with creative and innovative ideas to join our mission of fostering a thriving business community. GBED has seen a diverse range of businesses, from startups to early-stage concepts. Some contestants are local, while others are eager to relocate to Barton.

Important Deadline: Applications Due June 13th

The deadline for submissions is June 13th. The sooner businesses submit their application, the more time they have to refine their business plan and pitch with the support of GBED and the IGNITE committee. GBED can connect you with valuable resources, including the Small Business Development Center and experienced local business mentors. They are helping businesses to polish their business plan and position themselves for success in the competition.

Life-Changing Prizes Await!

This isn’t just any competition. We’re offering a total of $95,000 in prize money, with a whopping $50,000 going to the first-place winner! Beyond the financial boost, you’ll gain invaluable exposure for your business and ongoing support from the Barton County community.

Join the Movement: #GrowBartonCounty

With the help of our dedicated team and esteemed partners like NetWork Kansas and the Small Business Development Center, we’re committed to connecting businesses with the resources they need to thrive. A special thanks to NetWork Kansas for providing Venture Dash, the user-friendly portal for submitting applications and tracking your progress.

The competition unfolds in structured rounds, culminating in the electrifying IGNITE Finale event scheduled for October 10, 2024, where top contenders will shine.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Head over to for complete details on the competition, including deadlines, requirements, and the application process. If you want to become a mentor or sponsor the live event, please get in touch with GBED President Sara Arnberger at [email protected].

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to launch your business and become a part of Barton County’s exciting future. Apply today! Eligible startups—those under five years old with ten or fewer employees—are encouraged to seize this opportunity for growth and recognition. Applicants, aged 18 and above, must submit their entries by the June 13, 2024 deadline, with detailed guidelines and application forms available at Additionally, check out our new overview video that provides insights into timelines, requirements for each round, and more. We are igniting the spirit of entrepreneurship in Barton County!

About GBED (Great Bend Economic Development):

Our goal is to sustain Barton county’s long-term economic health and vitality through the retention, expansion, and attraction of businesses and development that enhance property values, increase personal income, and positively contribute to the citizens; quality of life of Barton County.

Great Bend Economic Development leads the charge in creating workforce initiatives to sustain our current employers as well as initiatives that will help to support new employers that move to the community. Employers and jobseekers are encouraged to reach out to GBED with questions and
concerns and GBED will either pair you up with a workforce partner to help you accomplish your goals, or work with you one-on-one to create solutions and positive outcomes. Together we will create a strong and sustainable workforce pipeline that will enable us to continue to grow Barton County.

For more information about GBED visit:, call 620-796-2407, or email [email protected].