The Business Challenge is designed to increase the social, creative and financial capital of minority-owned businesses. The competition provides early stage entrepreneurs an opportunity to vet their business ideas, gain exposure for their company, and receive early seed funding. 
This challenge is open to qualifying companies that have graduated from the DPF Breakthrough Bootcamp. Harnessing what was learned, the Business Challenge offers graduates an opportunity to  refine their product-market fit, while potentially earning funds that can be used to grow their company.
Entry into the Business Challenge requires:
  • Eligibility and application submission (use the form below)
  • A written pitch submission (not to exceed one page)
  • A live pitch presentation in front of a panel of experienced judges 
Winners of the Business Challenge we be honored and awarded at Elevate: A celebration of Diverse Entrepreneurship, on October 20th, 2017.




Participating companies must be at least 51% minority owned, managed and controlled, per the Federal SBA guidelines (African, Subcontinent Asian, Asian, Native, Hispanic/Latino Americans).
Each participating owner must hold a graduate certificate from the Breakthrough Bootcamp. However, the owners are not required to pitch the same business model or idea they presented in the program.
This opportunity is restricted to early stage companies. Companies that have received more than $50,000 in equity investment, grant funds, revenue, and/or income over their lifetime are not eligible to participate. 




  • Grand prize - $3000 cash prize
  • Runner-up prizes (2) - $500 cash prize, two runner-up companies will be awarded $500 each.
  • The full names of all individual owners must be disclosed in the Business Challenge registration form.
  • ·Prize money will be awarded directly to legally-formed companies. Companies do not have to be legally registered at time of entry; however, companies must register with the Secretary of State and provide proof of registration within 30 days of October 20th to claim their prize.
  • Winnings will be treated as taxable income. To receive money, a companies tax ID will be required (i.e. W9 form). Personal tax IDs will not be accepted.
  • Companies are responsible for the tax liability of winnings. Your company is solely responsible for identifying, reporting and/or paying any applicable taxes related to winnings.




Deadline to Apply: October 8, 2017, 10:00pm
Live Pitch Presentations: October 19, 2017 - 6pm - 8pm
Winners Announced: October 20, 2017 (RSVP)




Companies may enter the competition by completing the registration form (below) and submitting a written pitch by 10:00PM on October 8th, 2017. This is a strict deadline; late applications will not be accepted.
In addition to the written pitch, all entrants will deliver a live pitch in front of a panel of judges on October 19th, 2017. The presenter will be given 5 minutes to pitch (uninterrupted) followed by a 5 minute question and answer period with the judges. Entrants must use visual aids in their pitch (props, pitch deck, demo, etc.), and the presentation must address each of the questions above.
The written pitch and live pitch must address each of the following questions:
  • Product/Service: What product/service does your company sell?
  • Value Proposition: What customer pain does your product/service address? What do customers gain from your company's product/service?
  • Market Climate: How big is the market for your company's product/service? (Be specific.)
  • Financial Projections: How much revenue will your company generate in the first three years? How much funding do you need?
  • Competitive Analysis: Who are your biggest competitors, and what is your company's competitive advantage?
  • Team: Why is your team the best equipped to implement this business idea? (Please include relevant experience, meaningful connections, technical know-how, etc.)
The judges will use these questions to score both your written pitch and live pitch. Additionally, the judges will be scoring how engaging, energetic and clear your presentation is. 
Entrants who do not complete both a written and an oral pitch will be disqualified!




  • All entrants must be eligible to enter (see eligibility requirements above), and complete the registration form
  • Written pitches are not to exceed one page (10 point font)
  • Oral pitches are not to exceed 5 minutes. Presenters will be stopped if they go beyond the 5 minute allowance
  • Judging Q&A is not to exceed 5 minutes. Q&A will be stopped if it goes beyond 5 minutes.
  • Pitches will be scored on both delivery and content (see judging criteria below)
  • Any submissions that do not comply with the rules and eligibility will be automatically disqualified
  • All written submissions recieved after 10:00PM on October 8, 2017 will not be considered 
  • Entrants that do not complete both a written pitch and an oral presentation are automatically disqualified
  • Challenge organizers reserve the right to change, alter or modify competition prizes and/or rules at any time for any reason. By entering in The Business Challenge, you authorize the Diversity Pitch Fest and its sponsors, partners and organizers to use images and/or videos of your participation in the program.
  • Submissions and pitches should be focused on general business opportunity, without disclosing any confidential details of any product offering or venture. You are solely responsible for protecting any intellectual property owned by your business; the Diversity Pitch Fest, its sponsors and its organizing committee assume no responsibility to ensure the confidentiality of any information disclosed during the Business Challenge or associated events.
  • Diversity Pitch Fest, its sponsors and its organizing committee hold no responsibility for any copy right/trademark/patent infringements, or any conflicts/disputes relating to intellectual property that arise in relation to the Business Challenge.
  • Upon registration, you agree to indemnify all organizers, sponsors, partners, judges and participants from all liability and/or damages resultant to your entry and participation in the program.

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