NEWS RELEASE — Michelle Goetsch of Kronenwetter won big Nov. 13, earning a $5,000 check as the Grand Prize Winner of the Third Annual Central Wisconsin HATCH Regional Finale,  a high-energy new business pitch program that offers area entrepreneurs the chance to present their business ideas in a fun and highly social event format.

HATCH is funded by BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation with the help of a matching grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and support from the Portage County Business Council.   Goetsch was one of seven finalists selected to pitch their ideas to regional judges and a live audience at the event, which was hosted by Compass Properties and the Noel Family at the Noel Barn in Plover last night.

Goetsch’s winning business idea is an app called ERbin that has the potential to solve a simple but expensive problem – people don’t know how to recycle right.  According to Goetsch, ERbin’s product and location-specific solution is the first of its kind in the U.S. “A consumer can scan the bar-code of any product with the ERbin App and it will tell you exactly how to recycle it in her or his local community’.”

In addition to earning the Grand Prize,  the ERbin App also won the $500 People’s Choice Award, determined by a popular vote of everyone who attended. Karolee Krause of Stevens Point won second place and $2,500 for Therapy Cubes — a dice game that promotes personal and therapeutic storytelling., Third place and $1,000 went to Julie Kaprelian for Fresh Jar; a company that delivers fully prepared salads in mason jars.

Event host and local entrepreneur John Noel led off the evening with some words of encourage for the owners of the seven early-stage companies involved in the Hatch competition.  “Every day is school day for entrepreneurs,” Noel said.  “There is no failure, only learning experiences that help us get up, dust ourselves off and create something even better.”

Other financial supporters of the Central Wisconsin HATCH Regional Finale include the  Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Brightstar Wisconsin Foundation, Judd S. Alexander Foundation, Dwight and Linda Davis Foundation, Ruder Ware, Incourage Community Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, Grow North and Copperleaf Management Group.

Top photo: Pictured left to right are Todd Kuckkahn, Portage County Business Council Executive Director, Michelle Goetsch, 2019 Grand Prize Winner,  Fred Raasch, Vice President of Brightstar and John M. Noel, Founder of Compass Properties.