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Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

The NBMBAA® Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

National Black MBA Association® launched the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge in 2017 to address our 2020 Vision Goal of awarding $2 million in Business Grants to our membership. 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 40th Annual Conference & Exposition in September, the winning team will be awarded a $50,000 Grand Prize, with additional to prizes for 2nd place and a 3rd prize called the 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 Deadline: Friday, May 25 – Sunday, July 22nd@ 11:59pm ET

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 27th

Internal Judging for Regional Contestants: Monday, July 23rd – Friday July 27th

Notification of Top Ten Finalists: On-Site at Regionals August 10th (Atlanta, GA) and August 17th (Los Angeles, CA) respectively

10 finalists (5 from each region) will be chosen to participate in the live pitch events in Atlanta, GA and Los Angeles, CA. These top ten finalists will receive complimentary Conference registration, hotel and airfare for one team member. Winners will be contacted with additional details regarding their participation.

Semi-Finalists Round: Thursday, September 27th, 9  – 12:00 PM ET

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

Finalists Round: Thursday, September 27th 4:00 – 5:30 PM ET

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

Winners Announced: Sept 28th 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. Download the business canvas on the Resources Page.

Angel List Profile

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

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.

Advancing to Semifinals

10 semi-finalists will be chosen to pitch their idea live to a panel of judges at the 40th Annual Conference & Exposition presented by NBMBAA® in Detroit on September 28th. Each team will receive Conference registration, hotel and airfare for one team member. For a full description of the pitch requirements and judging, click here.


The top two 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.

   1st Prize: $50,000

   2nd Prize: $10,000

   People’s Choice Award: $2,500