How to compete In the Startup Challenge
Startup Challenge helps the founding, funding, and growth of new and innovative businesses located in this tri-county region. It is a five-month competitive business acceleration process that teaches, coaches, mentors, networks, and connects entrepreneurs to the knowledge and resources they need to start successful businesses. Startup Challenge provides free workshops and mentoring to participants, as well as exposure to potential investors, lenders, and business advisors.
Who Is Eligible:
- Start-ups (not yet operational) and emerging (in launch phase) businesses may apply.
- Businesses must be located in the Monterey Bay region (Monterey, San Benito, or Santa Cruz counties).
- The business idea must be your original work (your business, not someone else’s and not a franchise of another business).
Key Dates for Competitors
Deadline for Applications
Qualifying Round Pitches
Startup Challenge Finale
Startup Challenge Divisions
Prepare to apply to Startup Challenge
- Attend an Introduction to Startup Challenge workshop – These workshops will give you valuable information about how to enter, learn, and be successful in the Challenge.
- Choose your division
- Social Venture
- Main Street
Submit An Application
When you’re ready to fill out your application, click below on the link to your division. Fill out the application online and click the submit button. Once you have submitted your application, you’ll receive an email confirmation.
Important: In your confirmation email, there will be a link to your application. That link will allow you to edit your application until the deadline. Save that link! It is the only way to get back to edit your application.
The application asks for contact information and then for you to answer questions about your market, how your business will add value for customers, how it will make money, who your business will be competing with and how you will win, and other questions. You can return to editing your application until applications close on March 9th.
$30,000 Total Prize Money
Businesses intended to scale nationally or internationally and provide venture capital-level returns in 3-5 years.
Social Venture – $15,000 Total Prize Money
For-profit or not-for-profit businesses that deliver social impact as a part of their mission.
Main Street – $15,000 Total Prize Money
Local and regional businesses that are not intended to scale but will be economically viable.
$1,500 Total Prize Money
Open to all students in middle school through graduate school.
Attend One or More Workshops for Participants
Attend a Creating a Winning Pitch workshop
After you enter you are eligible to attend the Creating a Winning Pitch workshops. The schedule for these workshops will be listed on the Participant Workshops page. The Pitch workshops will be held during March, after the applications close.
Some additional information you may find useful: