Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition

Applications are due November 1.


The contests will host startup or expanding businesses from 7 southwest counties in Nebraska: 

Furnas - Frontier - Red Willow - Hayes - Hitchcock - Chase – Dundy

Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition 2021 Winner

If you have a business idea or a plan to expand your current business, we encourage you to apply for the Hormel Business Plan Competition. One of the best ways to keep southwest Nebraska economically sustainable is to help support and develop the people and businesses we already have. Thanks to a generous donation from the Hormel family and many area sponsors, we hope to help turn YOUR dream into a reality and create a better future for you and southwest Nebraska.

Up to $25,000 in Business Grants

Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition semi-finalists will receive a scholarship to pay for tuition and fees for the mandatory 8-week online Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing course offered through Mid-Plains Community College.

Up to $25,000 in business grants will be available to the Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition winner(s), to develop their business idea or expand their current business with no strings attached (actual cash prize(s) determined by a panel of judges).

The Hormel Family Foundation was founded in 1999 by the late Ben F. Hormel, a McCook entrepreneur, to support McCook Community College. When he passed in 2002, he passed on the torch to his children and grandchildren, who operate the foundation today. The foundation is committed to education, entrepreneurship and business development in the McCook and southwestern Nebraska economic region, and it is through this commitment the Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition was established.

Today, through a partnership between McCook Community College, a Division of Mid-Plains Community College, and southwest Nebraska area business sponsors, the Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition continues to assist local businesses in the startup or expansion phase with their business plan writing and a business grant, with no strings attached. The program also contains a component to help traditional students learn alongside local entrepreneurs.

The contest will host startup or expanding businesses from 7 southwest counties in Nebraska that will consist of (Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, and Red Willow.) The goal of the program is to help support economic growth in southwest Nebraska.

  • The Hormel business plan competition application and agreement are due November 1, 2023.
  • You will receive a notification via e-mail that your application was received. No need to call in or e-mail to check on the status of your application.
  • No other entry applications will be accepted or reviewed after the November 1, 2023 deadline.
  • After the deadline a select number of finalists will be chosen to compete in the Spring Hormel Business Plan Competition.
  • Each semi-finalist will receive a formal letter stating they have been selected to participate in the competition along with additional information and steps they need to follow.
  • Each semi-finalist will receive a scholarship to attend a mandatory online Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing class offered through Mid-Plains Community College during the 2024 spring semester (at no cost to the semi-finalist).
  • Successful completion of the course is mandatory for all semi-finalists to continue in the competition. If the semi-finalist fails or withdraws from the course, the semi-finalist must reimburse MPCC for their tuition and fees.
  • After the successful completion of the online Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing class, each Hormel Business Plan Competition semi-finalists will have until March 27, 2024, to comprise and submit their business plan to the MPCC office of Business and Community Education.
  • The judges will choose a select number of finalists who will present their business plans and presentations on April 19, 2024.
  • After the judge’s panel has heard all finalists’ presentation, they will hold a brief deliberation to discuss the finalist’s business plans and presentations before a winner will be announced.
  • *Cash prize winners will receive a 1099 form for tax purposes.

The following rules and guidelines for Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition at McCook Community College hereafter referred to as the Competition, have been designed to ensure fairness to all participating individuals and teams. The organizers and judges of the Competition will strictly enforce the competition rules. Interpretation of the competition rules that may arise during the Competition will be reviewed and decided by the organizers. Their decision will be final.

  1. Previous cash prize winners of the competition will not be allowed to participate in the Competition. 
  2. Eligible participants must be a startup or existing business that has been in business for no more than five years and reside in participating counties in the Southwestern Nebraska region (consisting of Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, and Red Willow counties).
  3. Business plans may be submitted by individuals or by teams, but all applicants must be 18 years of age or older. 
  4. There is no limit on the number of people on a team, but only one person will register for the class if selected as a semifinalist.  
  5. Willing participants for the competition must submit their application must submit an application and agreement by or before the deadline provided above. No other applications will be accepted after the deadline. No Exceptions.
  6. Any area of commercial endeavor is valid. 
  7. All finalist submissions must be the original work of those making the submission. Any plagiarized business plans will be disqualified. 
  8. All participants must agree that, should they be chosen as a semi-finalist, they will take the mandatory online Entrepreneurship Business Plan writing course offered through Mid-Plains Community College. If the semi-finalist fails or withdraws from the Entrepreneurship Business Plan Writing course, the finalist must reimburse MPCC for tuition and fees. 
  9. All participants must agree that, should they be chosen as a finalist or winner, they will use prize winnings to establish or continue operations that employ people in Southwestern Nebraska and invest prize winnings to start up a company or back into their company. 
  10. Partially completed applications will not be accepted. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Central time (U.S.) on November 1, 2023, along with the signed agreement form and must be received, postmarked by, or hand-delivered on that date. 
  11. Applicants risk disqualification if they attempt to approach a judge or have someone do that on their behalf, in connection with the competition. 
  12. The semi-finalists final business plan is due no later than March 27, 2024, and must be delivered to the Business & Community Education office: McMillen Hall 1205 E Third Street, McCook, NE 69001.
  13. Finalists presenting to the judges on (April 19, 2024) are allowed to bring posters, handouts, laptops for PowerPoint presentations, product samples, and more to assist them in the business presentation. Additional electronics will be on hand for their presentations.
  14. The decisions of the judges are final, including interpretation of the rules.

For more information, contact:


Phone: MCC Business and Community Education 308-345-8123



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