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AACC's $100,000 Business Pitch Competition

In AACC’s version of the ABC’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 ventures. Students submit comprehensive business plans and finalists pitch their idea to a panel of judges who evaluate and determine awards.

In spring 2023, eight businesses received seed funds ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 for a total of $75,000, and 19 new $12,000 scholarships were awarded. This competition provided more than $300,000 for students!

Critical Dates for the 2024 Business Pitch Competition

March 1-31 – Business Plan coaching; email to request a coach.

April 8 – Business Pitch Competition application due by noon. Submit your application.

April 18 – Business Pitch Competition finalists announced at noon online.

April 30 – Business Pitch Competition live pitch and awards ceremony, HLSB 100, 2:30-5 p.m. Register to attend in person or via Zoom.

How Do I Apply?

The Business Pitch Competition is open to all students enrolled at AACC or who completed a credit or noncredit class between July 1, 2023, and April 1, 2024. Your team can be a single person or many people, but at least 50% of the team must be AACC students. 

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, 2023, and April 1, 2024). 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 long as they meet the enrollment requirements outlined in the response to the first question. In addition, the pitch must be for a business in the startup or launch phase and be in operation less than three years.

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.

2022 Business Pitch Award Winners

Group photo of 2022 Business Pitch finalists

The 2022 Business Pitch Competition took place on April 26. Seed funds totaling $50,000 were awarded to the winners listed below.

2022 Business Pitch finalist Andrew Parr

unmuted Biergarten

Andrew Parr won $11,500.

2022 Business Pitch finalist Eric Collyer

Enroute Personal Training

Eric Collyer won $10,000.

2022 Business Pitch finalist Will Fenn

Helen's Blend

Will Fenn won $10,000

2022 Business Pitch finalist Patti Kuhlman

Kulhwhip Speed Ropes

Patti Kuhlman won $10,000.

2022 Business Pitch finalist Stephanie Steeley

Roen Dice

Stephanie Steeley won $6,000.

2022 Business Pitch finalist Stephen Buckingham

United Construction Network

Stephen Buckingham won $3,000.


We’re here to help.

Entrepreneurial Studies Institute

Stephanie Goldenberg


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The deadline to submit to the Business Pitch Competition is noon on April 8. 

Live Pitch and Awards Ceremony

The Business Pitch Competition Live Pitch and Awards Ceremony is at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30. Register to attend in person or via Zoom.

Entrepreneurial Studies Institute Overview