1. Applicant must be enrolled for 3 or more credit hours at an accredited Arizona College or University during the time that they are attending Meetup sessions and pitching.
  2. You must be an Arizona resident.
  3. The proposed business is a start-up between the concept stage and less than one year of operations.
  4. Applicant must attend a minimum of two Venture Pitch Meetup sessions at Venture Cafe Phoenix Thursday Gatherings, and will sign in at sessions to provide verification.
  5. Applicant will agree to treat all Venture Café Phoenix staff, mentors, college representatives, and any others involved in the sessions in a manner that maintains professionalism and generally accepted standards of human dignity and courtesy.
  6. If selected as a Venture Pitch winner, you agree to make yourself available to follow up press stories, interviews, and social media.
  7. If you are not selected to pitch, you must reapply for the next month's pitch contest. You will not be carried over.
  8. If selected as a winner, you are no longer eligible to pitch or win again.

Application Process

  1. The application process, judging rubrics, and judging processes will be shared at each Venture Pitch Meetup session by the program instructors. Candidates will have the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have concerning the pitch competition.
  2. Individuals interested in competing in the monthly Venture Pitch competition will complete the online application process and the instructions in the email that follows application completion. The following documents that you will fill out and return include the Rules & Requirements Acknowledgement form, a business plan questionnaire, and a pitch deck.
  3. Applicants will be notified of incomplete applications and given the opportunity to apply for the following month’s competition.

Initial Applicant Screening

Due to the limited number of competitors (3) that can be accommodated on any given month at the actual pitch competition there will be an initial screening process to identify the business plan proposals that will proceed to participate in the live pitch competition.

The screening rubric that will be used is designed to identify the business plan proposals that best meet the following criteria.

  1. Problem / Solution Statement – Identify a significant social or environmental problem and offer a compelling vision of how the business will contribute to a solution. These can be local solutions that contribute towards global concerns.
  2. Unique Value Proposition – Describe the use of new technologies, business models, and other innovative approaches that will give your business a unique competitive advantage in the market.
  3. Business Strategy – Describe the approach you will employ to launch this new business that can include your go-to-market strategy, staffing plan, financial projections and the identification of key resources, stakeholders, and strategic partners.
  4. Preference will be given to companies that incorporate a Triple Bottom Line (people, planet, profit) and demonstrate giving back to the community as described in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The judges for the initial screening round are independent business professionals from the Phoenix startup ecosystem.  These judges will be secured by and the screening processes will be managed by the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation.

Pitch Competition Judging

The Venture Pitch competition is a peer-to-peer event with college students enrolled in the ASU InvestU and Canyon Angels program serving as the pitch competition judges.

  1. All pitch decks will be submitted in advance of the competition and will be pre-loaded before the start of the competition for a smooth program flow and transition between competitors. Competitors will be able to test their presentation and the AV equipment in the room ½ hour before the competition starts.
  2. Each competitor will be given 5 minutes to deliver their ‘pitch’ to the judges panel. The ‘pitch’ will be followed by an additional 5 minutes of questions and answers from the judges. Both these activities have hard stop times.  Following each pitch, the judges will have an opportunity to complete their judging rubric.
  3. The judging rubric will be provided to contestants in advance of the pitch presentation and each evaluation factor on the rubric will be scored on a 1-to-4-point scale. The highest overall score will be judged as the competition winner.  Scores tabulated at the end of the competition are final and there are no appeal processes.
  4. Judging scores or judges feedback will not be available other than what is provided during the pitch competition. Please do not ask them for your score or ask questions after your presentation.

 Competition Winner

The Venture Pitch winner will be announced on the evening of the Venture Café Phoenix at the closing open mic session.

The prize for winning Venture Pitch is a $ 1,000 cash prize.  Venture Café staff will work with the competition winner to prepare documentation that is submitted to the Maricopa Community College Foundation who will issue the check to the winner.