Details and Rules for Columbus Startup Week Pitch Competition

Columbus Pitch Competition

6 teams will take the stage to pitch an original project to a panel of judges and an audience of business leaders, media, and investors. Teams will have 5 minutes to make their pitch followed by 2 minutes of Q & A with the judges.



Deadline for submissions is April 19th, 2018 at 11:59 PM EST. Late applications will not be considered.



The winning team, as selected by the judges, will be awarded $25,000 in free advertising with the Dispatch Media Group. 2nd Place receives a $15,000 prize and 3rd place receives a $10,000 prize. 

We are also proud to offer a $5,000 Community Impact prize, sponsored by Columbus Inspires, to the pitch that demonstrates the most meaningful community impact.


Entry and Registration

Space is limited to 6 pitches, which will be selected from the pool of registrants by the Columbus Pitch Competition Organizing Committee.  Deadline is April 19. Late applications will not be considered. Visit the Submit Your Pitch section of this website to learn more about submitting your pitch.



There are many great companies that we would love to feature and have compete at the event. However, because the prizes for the competition are advertising-centric, we have created the following simple criteria to help narrow and define the type of competitor that would be a best fit for this competition. Companies must meet all three criteria to be considered. 

  1. Competitors must have founded their company prior to March 1st, 2018.
  2. The company must have a product or service that is ready for customers or with a history of sales. 
  3. The product or service would benefit from digital advertising.

The Columbus Pitch Competition Organizing Committee has the sole discretion to disqualify and/or remove any individual or teams for any reason that it deems appropriate before and/or during the pitch competition for violation of these rules.  All decisions regarding an individual’s or team’s removal and/or disqualification from the pitch competition are final.


Pitch Guidelines

  1. Objective:
    The objective of the pitch is to simply define the idea or concept by explaining a product, service, or value proposition in short duration of time (5 minutes). There will be an additional 2 minutes of questions from the judges.

    Note: A pitch competition is not a “sales pitch.”  The judges want to see passion and energy from the entrepreneur(s) pitching, but please DO NOT try to “sell” the product or service to judges.  Judges are not thinking about buying the product or service, but understanding the value proposition of the idea or concept.
  2. Pitch Submission Format
    Remember, the pitch is simple summary of the idea or concept, i.e. the product or service, and how it addresses pain points in the market. It should cover the following:

    i.  Product or Service – Briefly describe the product or service.

    ii.  Value Proposition – How is the product or service going to add value for customers?

    iii.  Target Market – Who will be buying the product or service?

    iv.  Market Size – How big is the target market?

    v.  Differentiation – How is the product or service different from existing competition? What is the competitive advantage? (patent, algorithm, unique service model, etc.)

    vi.  Revenue Model – How will the product or service generate revenue? (sales, subscription, advertisement, etc.)

    vii.  Revenue Estimate – How much to expect to sell in the first year of business


event details

The Pitch Competition event will be hosted at the Bluestone, 583 E Broad St, on May 8 at 6:00 p.m.



Confidentiality is not guaranteed in any way. Do not include confidential material in your submissions.  There is no way for Columbus Pitch Competition or its Organizers to enforce a prohibition of other competitors, audience members, or judges who see and hear a pitch competitor’s materials from sharing the idea and/or materials.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) between a competitor and the judges and/or audience members will not be required or allowed.

Columbus Pitch Competition or its Organizers are not responsible for any confidentiality issues that may occur during the course of the competition and will not be involved in any way with disputes arising therefrom.

Columbus Pitch Competition or its Organizers may take photographs and/or video of any materials used or made available by pitching individuals or teams during the competition for public relations purposes.  Any content presented by a competitor should be considered public knowledge.

Competitors may exclude any proprietary information or materials that the competitor feels are at risk of disclosure.