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Scale-Up Rules & Eligibility

Scale-Up Pitch Challenge Rules & Eligibility

Submission Details

The deadline for all Regional submissions is Monday, July 15, 2019 by 11:59 PM EST. 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.


In order to be eligible, all entrants must be National Black MBA Association® members. Membership instructions are on the organization website. Click Here

Ideas and concepts pitched must be in the initial or early stages of development. Individuals or teams must disclose any funding already received at the time of registration. There is an allowance for an idea or concept to be already funded before this Challenge by personal or family funds, small amounts of seed capital from outside investors, or modest amounts of funding stemming from institutional or research grants.

The pitched idea or concept must be the original work of the individual or team pitching it. The individual or team represents and warrants that (i) it or they are the author or owner of the idea they are pitching and the owner of any intellectual property right(s) upon which the idea is based and (ii) that the idea does not contain any libelous material, does not invade or violate any right of privacy, personally or proprietary right, or other common law or statutory right. Ideas and concepts deemed by the NBMBAA® Organizing Committee to be fake, insincere, offensive, immoral, libelous, or unethical or in violation of any right of privacy, personally or proprietary right, or other common law or statutory right may be screened and disqualified.

The NBMBAA® Organizing Committee has the sole discretion to disqualify and/or remove any individual or teams for any reason that it deems appropriate before and/or during the Challenge for violation of these rules. All decisions regarding an individual’s or team’s removal and/or disqualification from the Challenge are final. All entrants and winners must:

1. Be a U.S. resident, and over the age of 18.

2. Have a founder who is Black (of African descent), who maintains an ‘at least equal stake’ in the startup (if startup has three owners, at least 33% of its ownership must be Black).

3. At least one member of each Scale-Up Pitch Challenge team must be an active member of the National Black MBA Association® in order to participate in the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge at the NBMBAA® 41st Annual Conference & Exposition in Houston.


The Challenge judges are a panel made up of investors, business development and startup experts from local and surrounding areas of each round.

Entry & Registration

15 finalists will be selected from the pool of registrants by the NBMBAA® Organizing Committee (“Committee”). The Committee’s decisions will be final. Applications must be received by the submission deadline, 11:59 PM ET Monday, July 15, 2019, via online application. The Challenge is open to any NBMBAA® member who has an entrepreneurial idea for a startup company who would like to pitch to a panel of judges for the purposes of receiving feedback, prizes, and the opportunity to share their startup concept.

Regional Rules

  • A participant can only submit one (1) region.
  • The regional will be limited to 250 submissions per region.

Submissions may be entered as individuals or teams. The maximum number of team members for a single pitch is limited to 3 persons. Each individual or team may enter only one idea or concept when applying for the Challenge. Only the pitching individual or the pitching members of a team may pitch to the panel of judges or answer questions from the judges and/or audience.

Regionals will be notified via email by 11:59 PM ET, Friday, July 19, 2019.


In the event of a tie, the cash awards will be split equally between the competitors. By participating in the challenge, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the judges. All competitors will gain access to free business consulting, mentoring, and partnership development.



Confidentiality is not guaranteed in any way. Do not include confidential material in your submissions. There is no way for NBMBAA® to enforce a prohibition of other competitors, audience members, or the Judges who see and hear a pitch competitor’s materials from sharing the idea and/or materials. Sharing your idea or concept may be deemed a public disclosure, so if you are interested in filing a patent, you may need to consult with a patent attorney before entering the Challenge. NBMBAA® is not responsible for any confidentiality issues that may occur during the course of the Challenge and will not be involved in any way with disputes arising therefrom. Competitors may exclude any proprietary information or materials that the competitor feels are at risk of disclosure.


Release – By participating in the Challenge each participant and winner agrees to indemnify and defend NBMBAA®, its officers, directors, employees, agents, contractors, members or event participants from any loss, liability, costs or damages arising from actual or threatened claims or causes of action which may occur from the conduct of, or participation in, the Challenge, or from the use of any prize. In order to receive a prize, participants will be required to sign a separate waiver form provided by NBMBAA®.

Publicity; Use of Personal Information – By participating, where allowed by law, all participants and winners grant NBMBAA® the exclusive permission to use their names, characters, photographs, voices, videotape and likeness in connection with the promotion of this and any future Challenge. By participating in the Challenge, where allowed by law, participants agree that NBMBAA® may disclose personal information obtained from participants in the Challenge to third parties and use such information for marketing and other purpose.


The value of any prize awarded to a winner may be reported for tax purposes as required by law. Each winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prizes and paying any expenses associated with any prize which are not specifically provided for in these rules. Each winner must provide NBMBAA® with valid identification and a valid taxpayer identification number or social security number before any prize will be awarded. Any person winning over $600 in prizes from NBMBAA® will receive an IRS Form 1099 at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form will be filed with the IRS.