College pitch competitions provide an incredible opportunity for both the student founders that apply to them and the university organization that run them. I'm here to help with all aspects of organizing your university's pitch competition- from the initial concept to the main event.
We all know what pitch competitions are. The meticulously prepared scripts. The over-designed pitch decks. The jumbo checks. Although there is mixed reception for the value they can provide (read VentureWell's well-thought out take on Rethinking Pitch Competitions), they have the potential to be a game-changer for a university's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Here's how:
If you fund it, they will come. Uncovering student startups at your university can be a difficult task. Startup ideas are formed and fizzle out on a daily basis at college campuses. Other times, a student's idea will live in their head or a random Google Doc for months before they commit to taking external action. Launching a pitch competition is a very effective way to incentivize students to take action on their idea. Why? Well ... free money! The ultimate college student incentive.
So when those students do apply to your pitch competition, what do you get? Data. Invaluable, insightful, beautful data. By running your applications through an dynamic database system, you are able to gather all types of information that will help you to understand both the individual and group characteristics of your student startups. Through collecting these responses, you will be able to better piece together key aspects of your student entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as: # of ventures, their stages, industry classifications, incorporation status, previous funding records, generated sales, websites, social media handles, and whatever else you would like to gaather from the application.
Pitch competitions are newsworthy events within a university. Campus newspapers and sometimes even local startup/tech publications will pick them up and be eager to report on them. You can use this opportunity to highlight your standout student entrepreneurs and generate publicity for your startup center. Press is especially valuable for a young student venture - this might be their first ever mention in a publication! That can work wonders in helping them to establish legitimacy when they keep
Finally - but certainly not least - pitch competitions are a great way to identify the promising ventures in your university ecosystem and provide them funding to keep up their great work. At the end of the day, that's why a student entrepreneur enters a pitch competition. They see the listed prize, they envision all the ways that prize could help them tomove their venture forward, and then they practice like hell in order to win the whole thing.
Organizing a pitch competition can be tough, especially in the COVID-19 era. But they can still be done. Whether virtually or in-person, I have experience in managing all aspects of a university pitch competition. Let me help you design your unique experience.
Get in touch with me to design a pitch competition that fits your university's entrepreneurial ecosystem.