A vintage baseball bat maker has taken the top prize from this year's Metro East Startup Challenge.
Todd Eschman, proprietor of Old Dutch Classic Bats in Swansea, won the $10,000 first prize in the regional business plan competition. Eschman's business produces custom baseball bats for vintage baseball teams that wear replica uniforms and play the game as it was played in the 19th century.
The contest is conducted by Southwestern Illinois entrepreneurs to recognize and reward excellence in local entrepreneurship. University Park at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville sponsors the event.
The university operates two Small Business Development Centers and the International Trade Center, which provide resources and information to entrepreneurs and business in the community.
Eschman is the general manager for the Belleville News Group, which includes the O'Fallon Progress and Highland News Leader.