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AACC's $100,000 Business Pitch Competition

In AACC’s version of the ABC Network’s “Shark Tank,” credit and noncredit students who have successfully completed an AACC course in the last year compete for money to support their business venture. Students submit a comprehensive business plan and finalists pitch their idea to a panel of judges who evaluate and determine awards.

In spring 2019, eight businesses received seed funds ranging from $1,000 to $16,000 for a total of $50,000. One company received a one-year membership in the Hatchery, AACC's student business incubator, and eight new $12,000 scholarships were awarded. This competition provided over $100,000 for students!

Critical Dates for the 2020 Business Pitch Competition

Feb. 4 - Kick-off Event and Information Meeting 3:30-4:30 p.m. HUM 112

March 23-26 - Business Plan Coaching 11 a.m.-4 p.m. CRSC 324

March 30-31 - Business Plan Coaching 11 a.m.-4 p.m. CRSC 324

April 2 - Business Pitch Competition application due by noon online

April 16 - Business Pitch Competition Finalists announced at noon online

April 20-23 - Business Pitch Coaching 11 a.m.-4 p.m. CRSC 324

April 28 - Business Pitch Competition Dress Rehearsal 2-4 p.m. HUM 112

April 30 - Business Pitch Competition Live Pitch and Awards Ceremony 2:30-5 p.m. HUM 112

How Do I Apply?

The Business Pitch Competition is open to all students enrolled at AACC or those who completed a credit or noncredit class between July 1, 2019, and April 2, 2020. Your team can be a single person or many people, but at least 50 percent of them must be AACC students. Full details are provided in the Business Pitch Competition 2020 Official Rules, Requirements and Judging Criteria.

Conduct research and get resources for the Business Pitch Competition with our library guide.

Register and submit to the competition.

Sign up for business pitch coaching.

Can non-Entrepreneurial Studies students enter the competition?

Yes. The Business Pitch Competition is open to all AACC students who took classes this academic year (between July 1, 2019, and April 2, 2020). This includes students who took classes in the summer, fall or winter, or who are enrolled in credit or noncredit courses.

Is it OK to have just one person or do I need to have a team?

Yes. It is OK to have just one person, although many startups thrive with a team of founders.

Do all of my team members need to be AACC students?

No. At least 50 percent of the team, preferably more, must be AACC students who meet the enrollment requirements outlined in the first question’s response.

Am I allowed to have a faculty member or prior winner as a mentor for the BPC?

Yes. You also can meet new mentors during the required coaching sessions.

Do I have to meet with a BPC and a Pitch coach to compete?

Yes. You must meet with a business coach prior to submitting to the competition. We have been doing this for more than 10 years and one thing we have learned is coaching has a significant impact on student success. You may find this requirement inconvenient now, but you will thank us later.

Can I get a student to take my company's idea through the competition?

The BPC is a competition for student-driven companies. We have a strict policy guiding outside companies recruiting students to join their team in order to compete.

Students must have an ownership stake in the business or the potential for equity and employment. Only student team members are eligible to earn prize money. No payments will be made to nonstudents.

Can I compete two years in a row?

Students are welcome and encouraged to participate as many times as they want – as long as they meet the enrollment requirements outlined in the response to the first question.

Can I change the name of the business at some point during the competition?

Yes. You are allowed to change your company name during the competition. We recommend that you reference the name change in your documents such as in the one-page executive summary or business plan.

Can I have more than four members on my team?

Most teams consist of three to five people, but you can have as many people on your team as you like. There is no official limit. However, only two members of the team who are AACC students can pitch to the judges.

Is the list of judges for the Business Pitch Competition available to the participants?

We don’t release the names of the judges prior to the pitch presentations. You will meet them on Pitch day.

Is the BPC Pitch Day open to the public?

Yes. Students, faculty and staff at AACC are invited to attend. Participants also may choose to invite friends and family to attend. There is no fee to attend.

Do judges, coaches or audience members sign nondisclosure agreements?

Judges, coaches and audience members do not sign nondisclosure agreements. This is common practice in the entrepreneurial world, especially when you are pitching your idea to investors. You should figure out a way to talk about your business, but not give away the confidential information that could be patented, trademarked or that is simply your secret sauce.

2019 Business Pitch Award Winners

The 2019 Business Pitch Competition took place April 25, 2019. $50,000 in seed funds were awarded to the winners that can be seen below.

300x300 of Puck Jones at Business Pitch 2019.

Puck Jones
Nickie Lambert won her full request of $16,000 to support product development and marketing for her hockey accessory and apparel company, Puck Jones. View her pitch.


300x300 of Happy Chicken Bakery at Business Pitch 2019

Happy Chicken Bakery
Martha Walton won her full request of $15,000 to grow her bakery and catering company. This was Martha's second year as a finalist. She won $5,000 in 2018. View her pitch.


300x300 of Annapolis Ascent at Business Pitch 2019

Annapolis Ascent
Nick Kiraly, Annapolis Ascent, won $8,000 for his drone photography business. This was Kiraly's second year as a finalist, winning $5,000 in 2018 for Annapolis Ascent. Pictured with Nick is also Hunter Davis. View his pitch.


300x300 of Erica Morgan Books at Business Pitch 2019

Erica Morgan Books
Erica Szymanski, Erica Morgan Books, received her full request of $6,000 to help publish her first book to be released during the summer of 2019. Erica is a Ratcliffe Scholar, graduated from Severna Park High School in 2019 and received her Entrepreneurship certificate from AACC on May 23, 2019. View her pitch.



300x300 of Hotspot at Business Pitch 2019.

Ola Bamisaiye received $2,000 for his business HotSpot, a parking app designed to make money for customers while making parking easier. View his pitch.

300x300 of Reani Pet Photography at Business Pitch 2019.

Reani Pet Photography
Fabiano Reani and Amy Allen received $1,000 for their business, Reani Pet Photography. View their pitch.

300x300 of Wonderland Coffee at Business Pitch 2019.

Wonderland Coffee
Chelsea Johnson received $1,000 to expand her business, Wonderland Coffee, to include food truck events. View her pitch.


300x300 of Three Bones Society at Business PItch 2019.

Three Bones Society
Eric Lerner received $1,000 for his business, Three Bones Society, that makes visionary, hand printed art. View his pitch.



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