Pirates Pitch 2017 … is the 7th 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 winning team will receive $6,000, plus legal, marketing and other business services, to launch or grow its business.  The runner-up team will receive $3,500, 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.

Pirates Pitch Resource Guide Available!!!

How do I apply?

Register on StartupCompete (http://startupcompete.com) to submit your APPLICATION

Applications are due Tuesday, February 14th, 2017.  

Even if you are not ready to make your final application submission yet, it is a good idea to register right away and create an account so that you can log into Startup Compete any time you like. Once you have  Startup Compete account, you can see a Pirates Pitch Application Preview with guidelines and questions you should answer. Also, once you submit your application, you can go back and make changes until the final February 14th, 2017 deadline. When you are ready to fill out your application, Startup Compete will lead you through the application. The information you’ll need to complete the application includes a list of team members. You’ll also provide a two-page written summary of your original student-generated business idea, or a two-minute video presentation of the idea.

Click HERE for more application details.

***When you set up your account on Startup Compete, you will see a section called Complete Your Listing for Public Directory. Ignore this section UNLESS you would like to have a summary of your business idea made public on the Startup Compete site. If you go directly to http://startupcompete.com  you will see that the site lists over 20,000 business ideas submitted. Many students from all over the world do choose to make their business ideas public in hope of finding investors, or to find other students to help them launch their businesses.

What’s next?

If you make it to Round #2, you’ll make a five-minute pitch to a panel of preliminary judges.

The ten best ideas/student teams will be selected by a panel of outside judges. The 10 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 on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017. The final five finalists will be announced the next day.

What happens if I make it to the Finalist Round?

Now, the going gets tougher. If your team is selected as a finalist to compete in Round #3, you’ll need to write a Business Plan that is 10-15 pages long (typed and doubled-spaced), due by Tuesday March 28th, 2017.This document is the road map to how you’re going to turn a great idea into a profit-making venture. 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.

The good news: You won’t have to go it alone. The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies will hold workshops to let you know what exactly is expected. Each student team that makes it to Round #3 will be assigned a mentor who is a seasoned and experienced entrepreneur. 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 Finale: Pirates Pitch Day

Next, each of the five teams in Round #3 will pitch their ideas in a 10-minute oral presentation to the panel of judges on Pirates Pitch Day, scheduled for Friday, April 7th, 2017. 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 two top 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 Seton Hall University Venture Fund 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?

If you’re an upperclassman at the Stillman School, you can enroll in entrepreneurship courses offered by the Department of Management. Similarly, the Stillman School offers graduate courses in entrepreneurship. 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.

Also click on the Video page to watch past videos of the 2015 and other Pirates Pitch contests. Scroll to the sections in which the Finalists make their presentations. Last year’s Finalists all did a terrific job and you can learn a lot watching their presentations.

You can also join the Linked Group of the Seton Hall University Center for Entrepreneurial Studies for entrepreneurship news and resources. In addition, New Jersey has a vibrant “meetup” community – events at which entrepreneurs network and can hear interesting speakers on entrepreneurship topics. If you add info@meetup.com to your address book, you will receive weekly updates on meetups