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Dubuque County Business Competition Sparks Innovation and Entrepreneurial Success



On February 1, the entrepreneurial spirit was alive and thriving in Dubuque County as 18 local entrepreneurs showcased their business acumen at the Dubuque County Business Competition, powered by Dupaco Credit Union. From a pool of 56 applicants, these 18 entrepreneurs were selected to present their ideas for launching or growing their businesses.


The night kicked off with a Funding Fair, where each participant pitched their business ideas to attendees and a panel of expert judges. The judges chose five businesses from the Funding Fair to participate in the Live Pitch Event and attendees had the opportunity to cast their vote to award businesses with People’s Choice awards. SoundSafe.ai, BustinAxe Throwing Range, and Little Blessings captured the hearts and votes of the attendees, with SoundSafe.ai earning a spot in the Live Pitch Event for getting the most attendee votes. 


The Crow’s Eye Studio, AMIDST Magazine, Forged Authority, Sweat Inspire Sisterhood, and Young & Filthy, Co. were all sent to the Live Pitch Event by the judges where they had the chance to compete for seed funding to bring their business ideas to life. 


After a series of compelling pitches, the panel of judges made the challenging decision of awarding seed funding to the most promising business ideas. The results were as follows: 


First Place: The Crow’s Eye Studio ($10,000)

The Crow’s Eye Studio, owned by David Crow, has operated a drone photography business for the past three years. His pitch for growth at the Business Competition was to add farm field mapping as a new service. With the addition of this new service, David can help farmers save hundreds of hours through precision farming. Through this field mapping service, he can map 100 acres of land in 10 minutes with 5mm accuracy and will allow the farmer to use a variable spray applicator that gives each plant only what it needs as opposed to treating all plants the same thanks to the uploaded map. The seed money David won will allow him to purchase specialized camera equipment for his drone, the mapping software required for this type of work, and a real-time kinetic position base, all of which will aid in offering precision maps for farmers. 


Second Place: AMIDST Magazine ($5,000)

AMIDST Magazine, owned by Jessica Pfohl Paisley and Carolyn Zick, is a micro media company that offers an ecosystem for the Midwest creative. A space to connect with other creatives across disciplines, share resources, and have their work published in a coffee table-worthy print publication and digital magazine. AMIDST manages an online community, and produces a digital and print magazine annually. In addition, they created a signature scent to enhance the experience of the print publication through a candle and fragrance. Since developing the fragrance, they have distributed through a small batch wholesale purchasing model and have sold out three times (once in 2022 and two times in 2023). The seed money will allow them to shift to a large batch distributor model for their signature scent to decrease their upfront costs and increase their revenue potential. This additional revenue will help support their mission of showcasing Midwest art, culture, and creativity. 


Third Place: Forged Authority ($2,500)

Forged Authority, owned by Wesley Poole, is a manufacturing company that started in 2022 and is located in Dyersville. They used the business competition to showcase The Dorothy, an innovative self-deployable wind turbine that provides sustainable energy. The Dorothy is collapsible, mobile, can be mounted to a vehicle or be static, and utilizes a phone app for controls and data collection. The seed money will allow them to continue their development process throughout 2024 which includes research and development, obtaining patents, and attending expo events to showcase The Dorothy to a wider audience. 


The Dubuque County Business Competition not only showcased the ingenuity of local entrepreneurs but also demonstrated the community’s commitment to fostering innovation. With the seed funding awarded to these local businesses, we are set to witness the growth and success of these businesses, contributing to the region’s economic development.

1 Comment


#1-?- how is it THE INNOVATION LAB, can send me emails, yet when I reply it doesn't allow me. It says my email that you sent the email to ? Is not in your system ??? Lol

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