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Shark Tank-Style Pitch Competition for Downtown Rochester Events

Release Date: November 20, 2019

Media Contact: Karli McElroy
Rochester Downtown Alliance
Direct: (507) 216-9882



Shark Tank-Style Pitch Competition for Downtown Rochester Events

ROCHESTER, Minn.—New or existing event organizers could secure Rochester Downtown Alliance Start-Up Event Grant funding by pitching event ideas for downtown Rochester in 2020.

While the RDA is known for producing its own large events, including SocialICE and Thursdays Downtown,  the Start-Up Event Grant is intended to support the creativity of other members of the downtown community. Since 2013, the RDA has given approximately $10,000 each year to individuals and organizations to help bring new events to downtown.

“How others imagine or re-ignite events is something I’m excited to see. I hope the proposals push the envelope for downtown Rochester in 2020,” said Holly Masek, RDA executive director.

Start-Up Event Grant:

The Start-Up Event Grant is open to new one-time events or event series or existing successful events in need of support. For organizers applying for funds to support existing events, the Start-Up Event Grand funding must be used to support a new component of the event and/or marketing of that new feature. Applicants—individuals, businesses, community groups, or organizations—can receive funding up to $3,000, which must be matched through financial or in-kind contributions. Full Start-Up Event Grant guidelines can be found here.

Pitch Night January 14, 2020:

Start-Up Event Grant applicants will present their ideas in a Shark Tank-style pitch competition January 14, 2020 at One Discovery Square. Judges completing the Pitch Night panel are RDA downtown cultural initiative committee members Naura Anderson of Threshold Arts, Chris Fierst of Bar Buffalo/The Half Barrel, and William Forsman of Café Steam. The public is invited to hear the pitches and to cast a vote for their favorite event idea. More details regarding the Start-Up Event Grant Pitch Night will be released as the date gets closer.

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About the Rochester Downtown Alliance
The Rochester Downtown Alliance is a nonprofit corporation comprised of a broad range of people representing property owners, business leaders, the city and others with a direct stake in enhanced business and economic development conditions in the downtown district. We work together to build a vibrant downtown community. We believe a strong core positively impacts the greater city of Rochester. Through a series of special events, activities, and initiatives, we create energy, excitement, and a unique character to Downtown Rochester, Minnesota.