If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for funding, exposure, and feedback for your innovative idea, you might want to consider entering a startup pitch competition. These events are a great way to showcase your product or service to potential investors, partners, and customers and a valuable opportunity to learn from other entrepreneurs, network with industry experts, and gain media attention.
But with so many pitch competitions, how do you choose which ones to apply for? To help you narrow your options, we’ve compiled a list of 12 startup pitch competitions to watch for in 2023. These events cover various sectors, stages, and regions and offer different prizes and benefits for the winners. Whether you’re looking for seed funding, mentorship, exposure, or validation, there’s a pitch competition for you.
Firstly, TechCrunch Disrupt is one of the world’s most prestigious and popular tech events, attracting thousands of attendees and hundreds of startups every year. Markedly, the event’s highlight is the Startup Battlefield competition, where 20-25 selected startups compete on stage for a $100K prize and the coveted Disrupt Cup. Also, the competition is open to early-stage startups from any sector and country that have not raised more than $2.5M in funding.
Following, Y Combinator is one of the most influential and successful startup accelerators in Silicon Valley, having backed companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, and Reddit. Twice a year, YC accepts around 200 startups into its three-month program that provides funding ($125K), mentorship, and access to its network of alumni and investors. Afterward, the startups present their products or services at Demo Day to an invite-only audience of investors and media.
Entry Date: Keep checking their website as the events take place at the end of August and March every year
Thirdly, MassChallenge is one of the world’s largest and most global startup accelerators, operating in several countries. They accept up to 100 startups per cohort into its four-month program that provides mentorship, training, access to resources, and community support. The program culminates in a final pitch event where up to $1M in equity-free cash prizes are awarded to the most promising startups.
Fourthly, the startup pitch competition at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival highlights early-stage learning and education technology companies, providing them with a platform to present their innovative products and services.
Arch Grants aims to attract the most innovative startups from around the globe by offering non-dilutive grants, pro-bono support services, and access to a network of experienced professionals in St. Louis. Afterward, the winners can receive up to $100,000 in grants ($75k non-dilutive and an additional $25k for relocation to St. Louis).
The Baylor New Venture Competition is a two-day business plan and elevator pitch competition showcases collegiate entrepreneurs’ business ventures and provides networking opportunities. In addition, participants have the chance to win industry-specific mentorship, access to accomplished experts, and a chance to win over $250k in cash.
A global initiative that recognizes and supports creative and inspiring women entrepreneurs who are driving change through their businesses while addressing pressing global challenges. There are also several regions in this competition, and each region’s winner gets a $100k grant, while finalists get a generous $60k prize, and 3rd place gets a $30k prize.
This global startup pitch competition highlights projects/initiatives with social and governmental issues and health impact potential by empowering young entrepreneurs worldwide with skills training, mentorship, networking opportunities, and seed funding.
CodeLaunch is an annual seed accelerator competition organized by Code Authority. It aimed to identify promising software technology startup ideas and provide them with professional resources like free software development, mobile app prototyping, mentorship, etc.
Aspiring entrepreneurs compete by developing business ideas that address global social issues. The winning team receives USD1 million in seed capital.
This global competition encourages teams to create & demonstrate how humans can collaborate with artificial intelligence technologies to tackle widespread challenges & improve human life. Additionally, the prize pool of this competition is a whopping $5 million distributed among participants, where the winner gets $3 million, second place gets $1 million, 3rd place gets $500k, and the remaining teams who participated get the distribution of the remaining $500k.
Lastly, this annual competition run by the MIT Department of Energy seeks breakthrough ideas in clean energy. They also are providing support through funding, mentorship& networking opportunities.
With this in mind, as we move full steam ahead into the fiery furnace of 2023, the startup world is heating up with many exciting pitch competitions on the horizon. From the sizzling-hot TechCrunch Disrupt to the scorching IBM Watson, entrepreneurs from all over the world will have the chance to showcase their blazing ideas and compete for the opportunity to light up the startup scene.
In conclusion, whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a fiery newcomer, these 12 startup pitch competitions will ignite your passion for innovation and leave you feeling like a blazing star. So, without delay, mark your calendars, gather your kindling, and get ready to set the startup world ablaze!
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