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Candace Monaghan-Beaver Dam Sunflowers. G Marrano photo

The 7th annual Gauntlet Business program and competition wrapped up with its award ceremony last night in Vinton, handing out in-kind and cash awards to the startups and small businesses that made it to the final round of judging. The overall Platinum Category winner with a prize package totaling almost $24,000 was Beaver Dam Sunflowers Farm in Buchanan. Candace Monaghan picked up the symbolic “big check.” Since 2016 Beaver Dam Sunflowers Farm has held a popular festival every September. Expansion plans include processing and selling more sunflower oil. The total prize package award this year was around $300,000 between cash and in-kind services; 104 small businesses began the program in February.