Pirates Pitch 2018

Seton Hall University pitch competition with $15,000 in prizes!


Pirates Pitch 2018 … is the 8th annual Seton Hall University venture fund Competition. Sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stillman School of Business, the competition encourages student teams to dream up an idea for a business, or, if a student already has started a business, then an idea to expand that fledgling business. The student teams then pitch that idea to a panel of judges comprised of successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The first-place will receive $7,000, plus legal, marketing and other business services, to launch or grow its business.  The second-place team will receive $4,500, plus business services. Third-place winning team will receive $3,000, plus business services. There will also be an “Audience Choice” prize of $500 for the most popular finalist business idea.

Who’s eligible?

Student teams can range in size from one to five students.  At least one member of the team must be an undergraduate or graduate matriculated student who is enrolled full-time or part-time at Seton Hall University.

How do I apply?

Create a two-page Executive Summary describing your proposed or existing businesses. Please use this Template as a guideline

Your Executive Summary is due Thursday, February 15th, 2018.

Please email to Susan Scherreik, Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at scherrsu@shu.edu

What’s next?

If you make it to Round #2, you’ll make a five-minute pitch to a panel of preliminary judges on Thursday March 1 at 7 p.m. in the Entrepreneurship Center.

The 12 best ideas/student teams will be selected by a panel of outside judges. The 12 semi-finalists will be announced and will then give a five-minute pitch to a panel of preliminary judges followed by five more minutes of judges’ questions. The six finalists will be announced on Friday March 2.

What happens if I make it to the Finalist Round?

If your team is selected as a finalist to compete in Round #3, you’ll need to write a maximum five-page typed, double-spaced Business Plan that provides more details on the points that you addressed in your Executive Summary. The business plan is a road map to how you are going to turn a great idea into a profit making venture, or a business that provides social good.  You’ll discuss your company and its services and/or products, describe the industry and your competition, and talk about your management team members and their skills. How are your products/services different from what already exists, and how will you market them? How much money do you estimate you’ll need, and how will you finance the venture? What are your goals, and what is the timetable for accomplishing them? You’ll address these issues in your business plan. You will be assigned an experienced entrepreneur to mentor your group and assist you in thinking through these issues. Additionally, there are many online tools available to help you with the business plan format, including a Business Plan template provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The business plan is due Wednesday March 28.


The Finale: Pirates Pitch Day

Next, each of the six teams in Round #3 will pitch their ideas in a 10-minute oral presentation with Power Point to the panel of judges on Pirates Pitch Day, scheduled for Friday, April 6th, 2018.  The judges (who will have already reviewed the written Business Plans) will then have 10 minutes to ask each team questions. After the presentations, the judges will deliberate before announcing the winning teams. The public is invited to Pirates Pitch Day, so bring your friends to cheer you on! In fact, the audience will be asked to vote for its favorite finalist team, which will win the $500 Audience Participation Award.

What are the judging criteria?

Pirates Pitch: The competition will reward the innovativeness of the business idea, and the quality of the written business plan and oral presentations. The judges will be especially looking for creative and innovative thinking about new markets, products and services. Also important, the teams will be judged on their perceived ability to execute the idea and turn it into a viable, profitable business.

Can I enter if I have already started a business?

Yes, as long as your new venture has not received funding from venture capital firms, and the total amount of outside funding is less than $50,000.

What is the best way to prepare?

The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies will put you in touch with a mentor at any time during the process to assist you. Plus, our Information Sessions (see Home Page for details) will provide information about the contest. Mentors who can assist you will be at every information session.

If you’re an upperclassman at the Stillman School, you can enroll in entrepreneurship courses. Plus, Stillman has launched a new Entrepreneurship Concentration. For more information, please contact Director Scherreik at scherrsu@shu.edu .

Additionally, read Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines, and the Wall Street Journal’s online Small Business section. Visit Walsh Library to learn how you can best conduct business research on industry, markets, competition and other topics. Trade shows that focus on your industry are also a great source of information, and many trade shows are held nearby in New York City.