Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference Pitch Competition

TWO Opportunities to Pitch and Win!

Attendees (as identified below) are invited to compete in TWO different pitch events during the Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference.
You are invited to participate in one or both of the Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference Business Pitch Competitions if you are registering as:

  • US Veteran*
  • Active Duty Military*
  • Reserve Military*
  • National Guard*
  • Spouse/ Family Member/ Other of any of those listed above*
  • Business Partner currently in business with any of those listed above*
  • Conference Speaker identifying as any of those listed above*

*Past Iowa Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference Pitch Competition award winners are eligible to compete but must show progress made since last competition.

During registration, in the Event Selection section, you will be able to indicate if you want to participate in one or both of the pitch competitions.

Pitch Opportunity #1 [Friday 3–5:00 pm]

For the conference Pitch Competition Round 1, attendees (as identified above)will have the opportunity to deliver a two-minute pitch about an idea or business to a panel of judges. Pitches will be evaluated on the validity of the idea and on the pitch delivery. Judges will select the top five participants to advance to the final round to deliver their two-minute pitch during lunch on Saturday.   The top three winners will be awarded $2,500 (1st), $1,500 (2nd), and $1,000 (3rd) in cash prizes. There are no rules for what elements should be included in your pitch; however, we suggest these guidelines:

  1. Your pitch should include the very basic information that will set you apart from the competition.
  2. Your pitch should be clear, concise, and compelling.
  3. Clearly define the problem and solution you offer; make sure the opportunity is obvious.
  4. Concisely describe your business concept or product and what competitive advantage you hold that will make you stand out from others.  Present this information first to grab the judges’ attention.
  5. Other pieces of information you may want to include in your pitch include your target audience or customer, mention of your competition so that your listener can get an idea of the marketplace in which you operate, and at least one major accomplishment or unique aspect that will set you apart and prove your concept is viable.
  6. Include milestones or traction: How do you know your idea is viable? Have you done a market survey? Have you talked to potential customers? Do you have sales? What have you done to demonstrate progress?
  7. Search the Internet for examples of pitches: some individuals present the facts, some tell a story, and others include a bit of drama to capture the judges’ attention.  Pick the style that best suits you and tells your business story the best!


Pitch Opportunity #2 [Friday 3–5:00 pm]

The second pitch opportunity is sponsored by pro race car driver Colin Garrett’s 11/11 Veteran Project. Attendees (as identified above) will have the opportunity to deliver a two-minute pitch about an idea or business to a panel of judges. Pitches will be evaluated on the points listed below. One winner will be selected and presented with a prize valued at $10,000 during the conference’s Closing Session (must be present to win). The prize, a decal of the winning entrepreneurs’ logo, will be placed on Colin Garrett’s race car for exposure during a race weekend and will include promotional photos.

For this competition, the participants will need to articulate these points:

  1. What is your business? What do you do?
  2. Who are your customers, and how do you reach them?
  3. What milestones have you accomplished to date?
  4. How would having the opportunity to have your business logo on Colin Garrett’s race car benefit your business?
  5. How could you leverage this opportunity to connect more people to the 11/11 Veteran Project?
  6. How could you leverage this opportunity to support the 11/11 Veteran Project?
  7. Why should the judges pick you for this prize category?


Important information about the Competitions:

  • Pitches are to be LIVE, IN-PERSON during the conference. Virtual pitching is not an option.
  • Must be present at the Closing Session to win.
  • Military related attendees (as identified above) are able to compete in BOTH competitions.
  • Only one person may present the pitch. Other team members may be present and answer judges’ questions.
  • It is the presenter’s responsibility to protect any highly confidential or trade secret information.  Consider the presentation a non-confidential disclosure to a public audience.  Judges and other participants will not be required to sign non-disclosure statements.
  • In each competition, participants are allowed two minutes to pitch, followed by up to two minutes of questions from the judges. Only the judges will be allowed to ask questions.
  • A timer will be available to let you know how much time remains as you present. A bell will ring at two minutes, and you will be asked to stop presenting – even if you have not finished your pitch. (HINT:  Practice your timing!).
  • PowerPoint is NOT allowed. However, if you have a prototype or drawing you wish to share, those items will be allowed (but must be set up quickly and without any assistance). A small table and easel will be available to use to display items.
  • You may hand out business cards to judges (bring three).


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