Do you have to be a Peninsula business to be eligible to win a prize?
Individuals pitching a business idea at START and who become prize winners must be a registered Peninsula business.
Individuals pitching a business idea and who become prize winners must be or become a registered business in one of the START Peninsula localities, prior to receiving their prize winnings.
What types of business ideas can I pitch?
The pitched idea or concept must be the original work of the individual or team pitching it. Anyone who has an entrepreneurial idea for a startup company who would like to pitch to a panel of judges for the purposes of receiving feedback and potential prize money may register. Any and all business ideas are eligible (whether for-profit, nonprofit or social-enterprise business (i.e. a cause-driven business). Ideas and concepts deemed by Start Peninsula to be replicated, insincere, offensive, immoral, or unethical will be disqualified.
How does pitching work?
On Friday night, participants will have 90 seconds to pitch a business idea and demonstrate to the panel of judges that it is exceptional. The objective of the pitch is to define the idea or concept by explaining the product, service, or value proposition in short duration of time, while exciting the audience and judges about the idea’s potential. Thirty (30) Pitch tickets are available for sale Friday night, but only 10 pitchers will be selected as semi-finalists. All participants who pitched are invited to stay for the weekend and work on their businesses, or they may join the team of a semi-finalist. On Sunday evening, the 10 semi-finalists will make their final pitch to the judges. See “How will winners be selected” for more details on the final pitch contest.
The criteria judges use to score pitches on Friday is (max 5 points each):
- Problem or Opportunity – the pitcher clearly articulates a significant problem or opportunity. The problem or opportunity is relatable and relevant to the market identified.
- Solution or Proposal – the pitcher clearly articulates a feasible solution that is likely to produce a sustainable and profitable venture.
- Target Market – the pitcher clearly articulates target customers and the size/characteristics of the market.
Pitch Delivery – the pitcher presents with confidence/enthusiasm, conveys a memorable message, and makes you want to learn more.
Can I pitch more than one business idea?
Yes, a separate fee will be charged to pitch additional business ideas. We recommend you prioritize your ideas and pitch the best idea first.
Can I pitch my existing business?
The mission of Start Peninsula is to help start/create a new business within a weekend. Ideas and concepts pitched must be in the initial stages of development. Individuals or teams must disclose any funding or profits already received at the time of registration. We do allow for funded ideas or concepts to be pitched, however the total funding or revenue should not exceed $40,000.
How do I prepare? – What should I bring?
On Friday night, it is likely you won’t need anything, maybe a notepad, laptop or tablet. Pitchers are not allowed to bring presentations or make demos during the initial pitch.
On Saturday and Sunday “it’s all hands on deck” and everyone is working. Bring whatever tools you need (i.e. laptop, extension cords, notepad, markers) and whatever helps add as much value to the business concept you’re working on.
For the final presentation on Sunday night, semi-finalists may prepare a presentation/slide deck, and/or a demonstration of their product or service. These may include:
- Wireframes or a fully developed website
- Mobil App(s) – from mock-up, skeleton, or fully functional
- Slides – Power Point, Keynote, Prezi, etc.
- Live product demo
How do I protect against people stealing my idea?
The short answer is you can’t. Anyone can steal an idea, but no one can steal execution or passion! More important than the idea itself is how you make it a reality as a profitable business venture. If you’re concerned, you can limit your pitch to the rough outline of the idea without giving away key information. Sharing your idea or concept may be deemed a public disclosure, so if you are interested in filing a patent, you may need to consult with a patent attorney before entering the competition.
Will there be any assistance provided over the weekend?
Yes! A key part of every Start Peninsula event is the valuable advice and assistance provided by the event’s speakers and mentors. Mentors are comprised of community experts in various fields ranging from entrepreneurship, software and hardware development, marketing, finance, law and more. Throughout the weekend, mentors will be available to providing advice and work with the teams. Even if you are not a semi-finalist, you are encouraged to stick around and take advantage of the incredible resources and mentors at Start Peninsula.
After the semi-finalists are announced on Friday night, participants are invited to form teams for the weekend. If you are a semi-finalist, you will need to decide what roles need to be filled for your business. Do you need programmers, marketers, financial experts? Try to identify and attract people who complement your skill set and who can help make your business idea a reality. If your pitch was not selected, you may join a semi-finalist and help them work on their idea, or you may decide to continue working on your own business.
How do teams address the issue of intellectual property ownership?
Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) between a competitor and the judges and/or audience members will not be required or allowed. Start Peninsula doesn’t support or take part in the signing of any legal documents at the events themselves, and while mentors with legal backgrounds may be present and able to give general legal advice, they are not permitted to give specific legal counsel. It doesn’t hurt to be specific about your individual expectations from the start, but it may be more productive for teams to focus on the tasks at hand until it really matters (i.e. there is a tangible product to have ownership of).
What is supposed to be accomplished by the end of the weekend?
There are no specific requirements as to what is to be accomplished by Sunday. Semi-finalists should be focused on building the parts of their business that demonstrate to the judges they are worthy of winning one of the three prizes on Sunday night.
How will winners be selected on Sunday Night?
Sunday’s culminating event is the final pitch made by the 10 semi-finalists. Each pitcher will have 5 minutes to present to a panel of judges. The judges will select three winners based on the judge’s scores. Final pitches are scored based on Business Model, Customer Validation, and Execution and Design. The Business Model is the most heavily weighted score. The rubrics for scoring are below:
- Business Model (Do you have a plan?) (10 points) The business model consists of the following:
- Value proposition – a description the customer problem, the product that addresses the problem, and the value of the product from the customer’s perspective.
- Market segment – the group of customers to target, recognizing that different market segments have different needs.
- Revenue generation and margins – how is revenue generated (sales, leasing, subscription, support, etc.), have you identified the cost structure, and target profit margins.
- Position in value network – identification of competitors, complementors, and any network effects that can be utilized to deliver more value to the customer.
- Competitive strategy – how will the company attempt to develop a sustainable competitive advantage, for example, by means of a cost, differentiation, or niche strategy?
- Customer Validation (5 points) – Do you understand the market problem or opportunity and have built a solution(s) for them? Does your solution resonate with the market? You need to determine who exactly your customers are. Beyond who they are, what are their common characteristics, how do they make decisions, where can you reach them, what do they need from your company, and how do they want your product to work?
Execution and Design (5 Points) – What have you created (a functional product or service? Do you have next steps outlined or a plan that identifies action items for the near future? Have gaps been identified and did you discuss how you will fill those gaps?
What are the cash prize amounts?
The top three winners will each receive $5,000 in the form of a check to be used by the winner to fuel the growth of the business.
The individual recipients of prize money are responsible for the tax implications of their winnings. Start Peninsula treats prize money payments as income to the individual(s) or team members receiving the prize money. Forms for the allocation of prize money must be completed prior to the start of Sunday’s final pitch event.