Do you want to win cash for your entrepreneurial venture? The “Young, Gifted & Funded” pitch competition will help support your venture through a cash prize, access to mentors in your industry, and ongoing support through the U.S. Black Chambers Economic Development Corporation’s Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined Program. Interested in applying? Applications are open until September 10th, 2017. See below for a breakdown of important dates and competition overview:

First Round: Two-Minute Pitch Submission Deadline:  September 10, 2017

Semi-Final Round: One-Page Business Plan Template Due:  September 22, 2017

Final Round: Live Virtual Pitch Competition:  October 13, 2017


Submit an up to two-minute elevator pitch (video and audio) and business profile form via our online submission portal by September 10, 2017. You are encouraged to apply early.

  • Elevator pitches may include key topics like the following:
    • What is your business?
    • What is the problem in the market? How does your business provide a viable solution?
    • What is the market size and opportunity?
    • Who are you and what qualifications do you have?
    • What is the cost of your product/service and how much profit per item/service will/do you receive?
    • Who are your customers and how will you acquire them?
    • Who are your competitors and what is your competitive advantage?
    • How much traction have you gained to date?
    • How much investment do you need and for what?
    • A closing and call to action
  • You may not use or submit a slide deck or other visual graphic in lieu of a recorded pitch. However, you are welcome to include slides as part of your recorded submission.

Two-Minute Recorded Pitch Submission Deadline:  September 10
, 2017


Semi-Final Round

At least seven (and no more than ten) semi-finalists will be selected and notified by August 15, 2017. Semi-finalists will be expected to submit a business plan template (template provided by USBC) by September 20, 2017. Templates submitted after the deadline and/or over the maximum two-page limit will not be reviewed.

One-Page Business Plan Template and Executive Summary Due:  
September 22, 2017

Final Round

At least three (and no more than five) finalists will be selected for the final pitch round. Through a live, virtual pitch competition, finalists will prepare and deliver a two to three-minute pitch followed by Q&A by the judging panel. Time will begin when the presenter begins to speak. One $5,000 prize will be awarded to the entrepreneur that receives the highest score.

Final Round Virtual Pitch Competition:  October 13,

To Apply

  1. Attend and/or register to attend a Millennials Redefined Workshop in a city near you, thereby joining one of our regional cohorts. Attending a workshop is not a condition to apply, but you must be registered for a workshop in order to be eligible for the competition. By becoming a member of our regional cohort, you will have access to resources to help you prepare for the competition, as well as the option to be linked to a mentor within your venture’s industry
  2. Apply via our online application platform, to submit your two-minute recorded pitch and business profile by September 10, 2017.
  3. If selected as a semi-finalist, submit your business plan template and executive summary by September 29, 2017.
  4. If selected as a finalist, be prepared to participate in a live, virtual pitch competition on October 13, 2017.


  1. Participants may apply as individuals or as teams. A participant can only be on one team.
  2. Each team/individual can submit one new business venture.
  3. The business plan should include a business model canvas and an executive summary.
  4. The business plan and model should be original work.
  5. The business plan and model will be treated as company confidential.
  6. All material must be submitted prior to the due date. Late entries will not be accepted.
  7. A panel of experienced entrepreneurs and investors will judge the entries. Only entries that meet minimum criteria of completion will be assessed. USBC reserves the right to disqualify any team/individual/venture at any time.
  8. Prize money will be awarded to business entities and not individuals. The business entity must have at least 25% ownership by one of the members of the winning team.


Each competition round will have three judges who will evaluate pitches and/or accompanying materials using a 100 Point Scale. Competition entries will be assessed using the following point system:

  • Innovation and Opportunity: 30 points
  • Understanding of Target Customer and Market: 20 points
  • Customer Development and Competitive Advantage: 20 points
  • Scale and Return on Investment: 25 points
  • Team Member Profiles: 5 points

Judges will determine if the team has put due diligence into addressing a need/market opportunity, understanding the market, defining the approach and the real-life validity of the idea, as well as the due diligence necessary for customer development. It will be expected that teams follow the Lean Startup process and discuss how iterations have strengthened their venture proposal as judges may specifically look for instances and question the testing assumptions. Judges will disregard assumptions about market, pricing, and approach if there hasn’t been an attempt to validate them by actually talking to customers or intended customers.

In all instances, judges will use the same scoring criteria and follow the rubric as outlined below:

Scoring Criteria







  • How sound are the business tactics?
  • How dynamic or cutting edge was the business idea?
  • How clear was the statement of the problem or opportunity?


  • How well does the plan illustrate an understanding of the customer’s problem/pain point?
  • How well does the plan show an understanding of the market?
  • How well did the team identify the assumptions crucial to their business?


  • How well did the the team design and carry out their tests?
  • How well did the team take action based on the results of the test?
  • How well did the team show that customers would prefer their solution?


  • How detailed where the company’s differentiators?
  • Will the business stand out and attract customers in the marketplace?
  • How unique is their value proposition and have they identified barriers to entry?


  • Did they arrive at a viable business model?
  • Can the proposed business idea attract customers and make money for the business?
  • Are you confident they can address key risks related to the business?
  • How would you rate the proposed plan reasonableness and/or achievability?
  • What level of investment is the team asking for? What are they willing to give?
  • How will they protect the investor’s investment?
  • If given capital today, how quickly could the products and/or proposed improvements get to market?

Qualitative Scoring and Notes

  1. What did the business plan template/pitch do well?
  1. What are some areas the business plan template/pitch missed?
  1. General Comments

Advancing to the Final-Round Virtual Pitch Competition  

Finalists will be invited to the YGF virtual pitch competition. Judges would have received and reviewed the team’s executive summary and business plan template prior to the final-round pitch. Thus, competitors are expected to have refined their pitch in both style and content in preparation for the final round. Teams will be judged based on presentation and the judges’ collective determination as to whether that team is ready for capital immediately.


Competition Philosophy

The Business Plan Competition is informed by the Lean StartUp methodology, a process which shortens the product development cycle by using hypothesis-driven experimentation and constant iteration to validate and vet ideas. It allows the entrepreneur to treat their idea as an assumption; it then demands the entrepreneur to develop a test for validating that assumption.

This process encourages entrepreneurs to “get out of the building” and test the ideas with real people in real places. The Business Model Canvas is the tool that logs the entrepreneur’s experiment through a search and discovery process culminating in a business model based in on evidence and proof.

For questions or concerns:

Application Tips

Keep the following tips in mind when preparing and delivering your pitch:

 Introduce yourself and your idea.

  • Identify the problem to be solved and propose your
  • Describe your product, service, innovation or idea.
  • Explain how you derived the
  • Establish how your idea is original, creative or an improvement over existing ideas, products or services.
  • Perform a demonstration and/or describe how the idea works

Present the target market for your product, service or idea.

  • Define your target in detail and establish why there is a need for the product, service or idea in your target market.
  • Demonstrate that the target market is measurable and sustainable.
  • Explain how your solution will benefit the target/ideal customer.

Identify competitors and establish uniqueness.

  • Describe your uniqueness or how you will differentiate your idea from competitor
  • Explain how your idea will be sustainable or profitable.

Communicate your business strategies, management strategies, and funding requirements.

  • Define how you will make a profit and or/accomplish your mission and vision.
  • Provide recommendations on how your product, service or idea should be communicated and promote
  • Explain how much funding is needed to produce your idea. Explain how you derived at that amount.
  • Share what you perceive to be your biggest challenge in the future.
  • Communicate the ultimate goal for your idea and how will you succeed
  • Share why you and/or your management team will succeed with this idea.


Keep the following pointers in mind when preparing a slide deck:  

Suggested Slides

These slides include the important points that may be covered in your pitch. Use this guide as a starting point. Arrange the slides based on the competition criteria or the best way to explain your idea.

  1. Company Title Slide – name, contact information
  2. Customer and Problem Solved – who you are, what problem needs your solution
  3. Market Size – what is the environment, how big are the target markets
  4. Your Solution (product) – how does your product solve the customer problem
  5. Product Differentiator – what is new and/or unique about the product
  6. Revenue Model – who pays, how much, when, and for what value/return
  7. Market Strategy – a plan to reach, attract and retain your customers
  8. Competition and Entry Barriers – who is threatening your business/market and how, what are the differentiating factors, why you will win over the competition, how will you discourage new competition
  9. Milestones – what are your milestones in the near future, what is the target date to achieve the milestones, and how much money do you need to reach each milestone?  What milestones have you accomplished already?
  10. Management Team – highlight management staff as a team
  11. Financial Overview – create a table to project top revenues for the next 3-5 years
  12. Capital Plan and Use of Funds – explain past investments, current needs, and the primary use of funds

For questions or concerns: