Attention all budding Elon Musk and Steve Jobs in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties: Applications to enter Startup Challenge Monterey Bay, a competition for entrepreneurs are due by midnight, Monday March 12.
Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is regional new business competition organized by a team of local community volunteers and the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development California State University Monterey Bay. The competition, according to startupmontereybay.com is, “a competitive acceleration process that teaches, coaches, mentors, networks, and connects entrepreneurs to the knowledge and resources they need.”
The contest offers substantial cash prizes, “Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is an amazing opportunity for local entrepreneurs, especially in San Benito County,” said Kristina Chavez Wyatt, Executive Director of the San Benito County Business Council. “The program is provided free of charge, is of exceptional quality and provides the unique opportunity for anyone to pitch ideas, network, and learn what it takes to start, improve and commercialize a business in the Monterey Bay Area.”
The competition is broken into three divisions.
The Venture division, open to businesses that will provide venture-investor returns, will have a $20,000 first place price and $5,000 for both runner-ups. In the Main Street division, open to small sole proprietorships and non-profits, first place will get $10,000 with $2,500 going to the runner-ups. In the Student division, open to high school, college and graduate students, the winner earns $1,500.
Startup Challenge Monterey Bay was organized nine years ago by local business and community leaders to help promote entrepreneurialism. With about 40 judges each year, which includes many prominent local business owners, along with investors, Startup Monterey Bay hopes to build its number of 90 entrants last year and break through to over 100 contestants.
Before contestants can move on to the Final Round and Venture Showcase on May 12, which will feature an opportunity to showcase their pitches on ‘The Otter Tank,’ A CSUMB version of ‘Shark Tank,’ they’ll need to get through the qualifying round on Apr. 7. Both rounds will be at the CSUMB Salinas City Center, formerly, the National Steinbeck Center.
Finalists will also have an opportunity to set up a table to network and pitch their ideas at a public venture showcase, which attracts city leaders along with interested investors.
To qualify contestants will need to apply by midnight Mar. 12 at startupmontereybay.com. The qualifying round is on Apr. 7 and the finals are on May 12.