Do you want to win cash for your entrepreneurial venture? The “Young, Gifted & Funded” pitch competition will help support early-stage business through a cash prize, access to mentors in your industry, and ongoing support through the U.S. Black Chambers Economic Development Corporation’s Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined Program. Interested in applying? Applications close September 10th, 2017. See below for a breakdown of important dates and competition overview:
First Round: Two-Minute Pitch Submission Deadline: September 10, 2017
Semi-Final Round: One-Page Business Plan Template Due: September 20, 2017
Final Round: Live Virtual Pitch Competition: September 28, 2017
Submit an up to two-minute elevator pitch (video and audio) and business profile via our online submission portal by August 13th, 2017. You are encouraged to apply early.
- Elevator pitches may include key topics like the following:
- What is your business?
- What is the problem in the market? How does your business provide a viable solution?
- What is the market size and opportunity?
- Who are you and what qualifications do you have?
- What is the cost of your product/service and how much profit per item/service will/do you receive?
- Who are your customers and how will you acquire them?
- Who are your competitors and what is your competitive advantage?
- How much traction have you gained to date?
- How much investment do you need and for what?
- A closing and call to action
- You may not use or submit a slide deck or other visual graphic in lieu of a recorded pitch. However, you are welcome to include slides as part of your recorded audio/video submission.
Two-Minute Recorded Pitch Submission Deadline: September 10, 2017
At least seven (and no more than ten) semi-finalists will be selected and notified by August 15, 2017. Semi-finalists will be expected to submit a one to two-page business plan template by August 20, 2017.
One-Page Business Plan Template Due: September 20, 2017
At least three (and no more than five) finalists will be selected for the final pitch round. Through a live, virtual pitch competition, finalists will prepare and deliver a two-minute pitch followed by two minutes of Q&A by the judging panel. Time will begin when the presenter begins to speak. One $5,000 prize will be awarded to the entrepreneur that receives the highest score.
Final Round Virtual Pitch Competition: September 28, 2017
- Attend and/or register to attend a Millennials Redefined Workshop in a city near you, thereby joining one of our regional cohorts. Attending a workshop is not a condition to apply but you must be registered for a workshop in order to be eligible for the competition. By becoming a member of our regional cohort, you will have access to resources to help you prepare for the competition, as well as the option to be linked to a mentor within your venture’s industry
- Complete a business profile and submit your two-minute recorded pitch by September 10, 2017.
- If selected as a semi-finalist, submit your business plan template by September 20, 2017.
- If selected as a finalist, be prepared to participate in a live, virtual pitch competition on September 28, 2017.
- Participants may apply as individuals or as teams. A participant can only be on one team.
- Each team/individual can submit one new business venture.
- The business plan should include a business model canvas and an executive summary.
- The business plan and model should be original work.
- The business plan and model will be treated as company confidential.
- All material must be submitted prior to the due date. Late entries will not be accepted.
- A panel of experienced entrepreneurs and investors will judge the entries. Only entries that meet minimum criteria of completion will be assessed. USBC reserves the right to disqualify any team/individual/venture at any time.
- Prize money will be awarded to business entities and not individuals. The business entity must have at least 25% ownership by one of the members of the winning team.
Each competition round will have three judges who will evaluate pitches and/or accompanying materials using a 100 Point Scale. Competition entries will be assessed using the following point system:
- Innovation and Opportunity: 30 points
- Understanding of Target Customer and Market: 20 points
- Customer Development and Competitive Advantage: 20 points
- Scale and Return on Investment: 25 points
- Team Member Profiles: 5 points
Judges will determine if the team has put due diligence into addressing a need/market opportunity, understanding the market, defining the approach and the real-life validity of the idea, as well as the due diligence necessary for customer development. It will be expected that teams follow the Lean Startup process and discuss how iterations have strengthened their venture proposal as judges may specifically look for instances and question the testing assumptions. Judges will disregard assumptions about market, pricing, and approach if there hasn’t been an attempt to validate them by actually talking to customers or intended customers.
In all instances, judges will use the same scoring criteria and follow the rubric as outlined below:
(Scale of 1 to 5)
INNOVATION AND OPPORTUNITY
- How sound are the business tactics?
- How dynamic or cutting edge was the business idea?
- How clear was the statement of the problem or opportunity?
UNDERSTANDING OF TARGET CUSTOMER & MARKET
- How well does the plan illustrate an understanding of the customer’s problem/pain point?
- How well does the plan show an understanding of the market?
- How well did the team identify the assumptions crucial to their business?
- How well did the team design and carry out their tests?
- How well did the team take action based on the results of the test?
- How well did the team show that customers would prefer their solution?
- How detailed where the company’s differentiators?
- Will the business stand out and attract customers in the marketplace?
- How unique is their value proposition and have they identified barriers to entry?
SCALE AND RETURN ON INVESTMENT
- Did they arrive at a viable business model?
- Can the proposed business idea attract customers and make money for the business?
- Are you confident they can address key risks related to the business?
- How would you rate the proposed plan reasonableness and/or achievability?
- What level of investment is the team asking for? What are they willing to give?
- How will they protect the investor's investment?
- If given capital today, how quickly could the products and/or proposed improvements get to market?
Qualitative Scoring and Notes
- What did the business plan template/pitch do well?
- What are some areas the business plan template/pitch missed?
Advancing to the Final-Round Virtual Pitch Competition
Finalists will be invited to the YGF virtual pitch competition. Judges will have received the team’s executive summary and business plan template prior to the final-round pitch. Thus, competitors are expected to have refined their pitch in both style and content in preparation for the final round. Teams will be judged based on presentation and the judges’ collective determination as to whether that team is ready for capital immediately.
The Business Plan Competition is informed by the Lean StartUp methodology, a process which shortens the product development cycle by using hypothesis-driven experimentation and constant iteration to validate and vet ideas. It allows the entrepreneur to treat their idea as an assumption; it then demands the entrepreneur to develop a test for validating that assumption.
This process encourages entrepreneurs to “get out of the building” and test the ideas with real people in real places. The Business Model Canvas is the tool that logs the entrepreneur’s experiment through a search and discovery process culminating in a business model based in on evidence and proof.
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