Side Step Farms wins Momentum Business Plan Competition 

May 25, 2023

Side Step Farms wins Momentum Business Plan Competition 

LUDINGTON — Side Step Farms of Riverton Township won the grand prize of $15,000 in the Momentum Business Plan Competition. The prize was awarded after finalists presented their business pitches to a live audience and a panel of judges on Thursday evening at Ludington Area Center for the Arts.

Owners, Molly Guthrie and Megan Marsteller, were presented a check from Pennies from Heaven Foundation and will also receive $10,000 worth of support services.

The “Shark Tank-style” event featured five finalists at this competition designed to help propel local business forward in Mason County. Other prize winners were Hassle Free Restaurant Clearners of Ludington, earning a second-place prize of $10,000; and Common Grace Birth Support of Ludington taking the People’s Choice Award of $5,000. 

The competition is administered by the Chamber Alliance of Mason County and supported with funding from Pennies from Heaven, West Shore Bank, Ludington SCORE, and Metalworks – who all share a passion for entrepreneurism and the Mason County community.

The contest was open to any Mason County for-profit or non-profit venture with a viable business idea, plan or invention – or existing organization or company with less than $250,000 in sales or revenue annually.

Five finalists were chosen from a pool of applicants in April: Common Grace Birth Support, Hassle Free Restaurant Cleaners, Side Step Farms, State and Main Coffee of Scottville, and Wave Nutrition of Ludington. Each made a five-minute presentation at Thursday’s event, which was held at Ludington Area Center for the Arts.

The winner, Side Step Farms, is an 80-acre farm in Riverton Township south of Scottville. Owners Molly Guthrie and Megan Marsteller said they plan to provide organic produce that is grown with contemporary, lean waste-reduction initiatives to increase production. Both are US Marine Corp veterans and their growing methods not only increase production but also help replenish the soil and promote operational sustainability.

2023 market garden will include an intensive planting of 52 varieties of produce and 42 varieties of Michigan native perennials, as well as eggs, honey and hay. It is the only no-till and regenerative-focused farm within the surrounding market areas.

The next business plan competition is on a smaller scale and will be held at and sponsored by Epworth Heights and Epworth Church Association. For more information on Momentum 5×5 Competition, visit momentumstartup.org. Registration is open now.

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