Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Board Members
LOT Luminaries
Member Spotlight
Press & Media
Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

The NBMBAA® Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

National Black MBA Association® launched the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge in 2017 which works to satisfy the mission of the Association to help create and support wealth building opportunities for its members, with previous winners experiencing great success with investors due to exposure and funding provided through this challenge. This challenge is a pitch competition designed to “Make Big Ideas Bigger” by encouraging our members to create startups that are scalable. We provide startups the unique opportunity to connect with early stage investors and venture capitalists who are ready to invest. Culminating at the 41st Annual Conference & Exposition in September, the winning team will be awarded a $50,000 Grand Prize, with additional to prizes for 2nd place and 3rd place as well as a People’s Choice Award.


If you think your startup embodies a “Big Idea” that can be even bigger, this challenge is for you! 

Scale-Up Pitch Challenge Timeline

Online Submissions Period: Wednesday, May 1st – Monday, July 15th @ 11:59pm EST

Interested teams who meet eligibility requirements (see below), will submit an online application (including pitch video and business canvas).

Notification of Regional Contestants: Friday, July 19th 

Internal Judging for Regional Contestants: Monday, July 15th thru Friday July 19th

Notification of Top Fifteen Finalists: On-Site at Regionals August 9th (Chicago, IL), August 16th (Atlanta, GA) and August 23rd (Los Angeles, CA) respectively

15 finalists (5 from each region) will be chosen to participate in the live pitch event at the annual Conference in Houston, TX. The top 15 finalists will receive complimentary Conference registration, along with hotel and airfare for one team member. Winners will be contacted with additional details regarding their participation.

Semi-Finalists Round: Wednesday, September 25th, 2 – 5:00 PM EST

Semi-finalists will present their pitch live in front of a panel of judges.

Finalists Round: Thursday, September 26th 3:30 – 5:00 PM ET

Finalists will present their pitch live in front of a panel of judges.

Winners Announced: September 26th after Final Round Concludes

Date, time, and location TBA.

Submission Requirements

Elevator Pitch

Participants will record and upload a 90-second elevator pitch to YouTube. You will be asked to include the YouTube URL in your application. Your elevator pitch should answer the following questions:

– What is your product/idea?

– Why is your idea scalable (i.e. what’s the market)?

– Why is your company better than competitors?

– What will you do with the $50K investment if you win?

– What does the NBMBAA® mean to you?

Completed Business Canvas

Participants will download and complete the business canvas to upload with their submission.

Angel List Profile

Participants will create and complete an AngelList profile for their business. 

Completed Submission Form

When you have all your other materials prepared, complete the Scale-Up Submission Form.

NBMBAA® Membership

At least one member of each Scale-Up Pitch Challenge team must be an active member of the National Black MBA Association® to gain access to the submission form. Not a member? Join Now.

SCORE Partnership

NBMBAA® has partnered with SCORE to provide free coaching and mentoring for our 2019 Scale-Up Challenge participants. When your submission is received, we will place the business owner in contact with a SCORE representative to provide free one-on-one support.

What is SCORE?

For over 50 years, SCORE has served as America’s premier source of free business mentoring and education. As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964. With SCORE, you are not alone on your business journey.

Advancing to Semifinals

The Top 15 finalists will be invited to attend the 41st Annual National Black MBA Conference® in Houston, TX and receive $500 for travel expenses. NBMBAA® will also cover the top 15 finalists conference registration and lodging. For a full description of the pitch requirements and judging, click here.


The top three teams, selected by judges, will be awarded cash prizes. The audience will also the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice Award winner, which will also receive a cash prize.

Regional Events

  • Midwest – Chicago, Illinois (Date: August 9)
  • East – Atlanta, Georgia (Date: August 16)
  • West – Los Angeles, California (Date: August 23)

   1st Prize: $50,000

   2nd Prize: $10,000

   3rd Prize: $1,500

   People’s Choice Award: $1,000

Congratulations 2018 Scale-Up Pitch Challenge Winners!

1st: Neu, Inc. – Kwame Boler

2nd: A Dozen Cousins – Ibraheem Basir

3rd: – CJ Mitchell

People’s Choice: A Dozen Cousins – Ibraheem Basir