A variety of business plan or idea pitch competitions are held throughout Alabama. These competitions are usually designed to recognize novel business ideas, and would probably not be appropriate for someone wishing to start a hair salon or sandwich franchise. Please review the terms, conditions, application deadline, award amounts, and qualification requirements for each event, as they change frequently.
- Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition. Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, is for new, innovative ventures in the seed or early-growth stages, or for existing businesses moving into a new high-growth market. The program aims to give early-stage startups momentum to take an idea from concept to reality. Winners received capital to launch or scale their business. Individual awards are based on funded milestones submitted through the project budget required during the application phase. Those interested in competing must apply and be accepted into the cycle during the open application period for each cycle. Teams accepted into the competition advance to the Pitch Phase.
- The Big Pitch (REV Birmingham). This is a Birmingham pitch competition for culinary and lifestyle businesses. In the two-part event, finalists participate in one intense day of “business boot camp” to prepare themselves to pitch in front of judges, potential investors, and a live audience. First place receives $15k; second place receives$5k; and “People’s Choice” receives $5k. Winners also received free ongoing legal and accounting services worth thousands of dollars. Check the website to determine if applications are currently being accepted.
- River Pitch (UA). The River Pitch Business Idea Competition was created to help ideas and early-stage businesses further progress. There is no entry fee and the event is open to both students and community members alike. Award amounts vary by year.
- Velocity Accelerator. This is a 12 week startup accelerator in the Innovation Depot. Each class of 10 companies spends 12 weeks working full time on their startup in Velocity with help from mentors, investors, and experts. Each company receives $50,000 in startup cash. Check the website to determine when the next class is available.
- Spark Match. Spark Match is a tournament style pitch competition sponsored by the Birmingham Venture Club. Entrepreneurs from local businesses with less than 50 employees and less than $3,000,000 in sales can apply by submitting a 90 second video to the Birmingham Venture Club. Accepted applicants then go through three rounds of three-minute pitches to investors. One champion will win $10,000 in cash prizes. Check the website to determine when applications will be accepted.
- The Tiger Cage (AU). This is an annual competition devoted to discovering and rewarding the best early-state products, services or business concepts that emerge from Auburn University students and entrepreneurs. Teams compete for a prize pool of up to $25,000 and access to legal services. Teams that advance will have access to mentorship from entrepreneurs in the Auburn University community. Teams must be led by an active student, but AU alumni are allowed to join teams.
- Shoals Idea Audition (UNA). The Shoals Idea Audition is designed to foster new businesses, help entrepreneurs polish their presentations, and introduce community leaders who might be instrumental in helping make their ideas a reality. For the sixth year in a row, hopeful participants will have an opportunity to present their business ideas to a panel of area professionals, and the top scoring idea will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize, with $2,500 and $1,000 to second and third-place winners, respectively.
- LiftOff Shoals (UNA). The purpose of the LiftOff Shoals startup competition is to promote and reward high-growth, innovative ventures that have the potential to grow and thrive in Colbert and Lauderdale Counties. The competition is for new, independent ventures in the pre-seed, seed, startup or early-growth stages, or for the expansion of an existing business into a new high-growth market. $150 application fee. In the last competition, two prizes were awarded: $20k first place, $5k runner up.
- Boost Idea Competition (UAH). BOOST is a pitch competition designed to challenge, inspire and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to ideate, create and launch new ventures. If you have an idea that can positively impact lives – whether its B2B, B2C, social, enterprise, an app or anything else you can articulate in a 5-minute pitch – we want to hear it! Winners will divide a pool of up to $3,000.