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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 2020, nine businesses received seed funds ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 for a total of $50,000. One lucky business won an additional $500 for the Fan-Favorite award, selected by the viewing audience. Four companies received a one-year membership in the Hatchery, AACC's student business incubator, and 15 new $12,000 scholarships were awarded. This competition provided over $100,000 for students!

Critical Dates for the 2021 Business Pitch Competition

Feb. 2 - Kick-off Event and Information Meeting, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

March 15-18 - Business Plan Coaching, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 

March 22-28 - Spring Break

March 29-April 2 - Business Plan Coaching, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

April 8 - Business Pitch Competition application due by noon online

April 20 - Business Pitch Competition Finalists announced at noon online

April 27 - Business Pitch Competition Dress Rehearsal, 2-4 p.m.

April 29 - Business Pitch Competition Live Pitch and Awards Ceremony, 2:30-5 p.m.


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, 2020, and April 8, 2021. Your team can be a single person or many people, but at least 50% of the team must be AACC students. 

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

 

Check back in January 2021 for official rules, workshops and coaching opportunities.

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, 2020, and April 8, 2021). 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.


2020 Business Pitch Award Winners

The 2020 Business Pitch Competition took place on April 30. Seed funds totaling $50,000 were awarded to the winners listed below.

Click to view the Business Pitch Competition.

300x300 of woman for loblola

Loblola

Jenna Bruxvoort of Annapolis won $15,000 and the Fan Favorite Award, $500

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Clover Run Riding
Jessica Flaherty of Bowie won $8,000

300x300 of woman for casa rena designs

Casa Pena Designs
Heidi Pena of Odenton won $6,000

300x300 of Nakia Cheeks

Baked and Brunched
Nakia Cheeks of Upper Marlboro won $5,000

300x300 of man with shoes.

Socially Selective
Cameron Davis of Severn won $5,000

300x300 variant of man.

Bookkeepers by the Bay
Zachary Waller of Stevensville won $4,000

300x300 of woman with plant.

Violeta's LLC

Sara Gray-Foreman, new resident of Covington, La., won $4,000

300x300 variant of Stephanie Steeley

Traveler Massage
Stephanie Steeley of Glen Burnie won $2,000

300x300 of Madisyn Bird

Powered Puff Protection
Madisyn Bird of Washington, D.C., won $1,000

Questions?

We’re here to help.

Entrepreneurial Studies Institute

Stephanie Goldenberg

410-777-1265

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