The Entrepreneurship Center
at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) is inviting WCC students and area businesses to apply to the annual "Pitch@WCC" competition, an event where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas before a panel of judges.
The 2023 competition is open to for-profit and non-profit businesses alike. Winners will receive cash prizes and all finalists will receive a year of coaching and mentoring from the Entrepreneurship Center.
For-profit businesses will be awarded in three separate categories, each corresponding to a stage of growth: Start, meaning the business has an idea but no customers; Build, meaning the business has reached between one and five customers and seeks definition and an increased customer base; and Grow, meaning the business is established and has a solid customer base.
Non-profit businesses compete in their own category, and Julet says a final prize, the Audience Choice Award, "is always really fun, as well."
Applicants can submit a two-minute "Pitch Your Pitch" video through the Entrepreneurship Center website, alongside an application form. Finalists will be invited to compete at a live event on May 11, which will be open to community members. All finalists will receive coaching beforehand.
Julet offers the following advice to competition applicants: "Speak from your heart [and] have an authentic story about what problem you’re trying to solve for your distinct customer segment."
The Entrepreneurship Center has run the "Pitch@WCC" competition since 2016 but will offer increased cash prizes this year.
Winners of the Start, Build, and Grow categories will receive $2,500, $5,000, and $7,500, respectively. The nonprofit pitch winner will receive $2,500, and the winner of the Audience Choice Award will receive $500.
Applicants can only apply in one category and are ineligible to compete if they won an award in a previous year. More information is available here
Natalia Holtzman is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, and others.
Photo courtesy of WCC.