Prepare to Compete

NOTE: Applications have closed for this year’s Startup Challenge Monterey Bay.
See you next year!

Steps to Compete

  1. Attend or View an Introductory workshop
  2. Choose your Division
  3. Pay Application Fee
  4. Complete and submit application
  5. Check your email for next steps.
    Be sure to add startupmb@startupmontereybay.com to your contacts

Introductory workshops

Startup Challenge offers free workshops to participants to help them apply, prepare to pitch, and develop key aspects of their business.

Upcoming workshop

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

5 – 6 PM

Saturday, March 6, 2021

4 – 5 PM

Monday, March 8, 2021

11 – 12 PM

Monday, March 8, 2021

4 – 5 PM

SCMB

Learn About Startup Challenge

Introduction to the 2021 Startup Challenge

How to Apply to the 2021 Startup Challenge 

CHOOSE YOUR DIVISION

Venture

Open to businesses intended to scale and provide venture-investor level returns.

Social Venture

Open to for-profit and not-for-profit businesses with a significant social mission.

Main Street

Open to small businesses and sole proprietorships.

Student

Open to all students in middle school through graduate schools.  

You Will be prompted to pay the application fee
when you begin the application

Frequently Asked Questions

WHO SHOULD COMPETE

Middle school through university graduate students are eligible to enter any of the divisions of the Startup Challenge.

Your product can be in the idea stage as long as you have a developed plan for the business. The Challenge is here to help you develop your idea into a successful startup business.

I have customers in areas outside of San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Am I still eligible to compete?

There is no advantage in being a business related to agriculture, marine life etc. We want to expand the economy in all industries in the tri-county area.

No, your company cannot be established for more than 2 years, nor have more than $500,000 in cumulative revenues.

Original work means that the business needs to be your own (or your team’s); you cannot pitch someone else’s business, and it also cannot be a franchise of another business. For example, pitching a new McDonald’s franchise would not be allowed. You could, however, pitch a business in which you intend to sell franchises.

Yes! You may enter different ideas. It is a lot of work to submit more than one idea so we recommend no more than two, however, if you feel you can manage more than two, go for it! You may not, however, enter the same business in multiple divisions.

The purpose of this competition is to create new businesses and jobs in this region so you need to be located in this region.

APPLICATION

No, you cannot submit the same business in more than one division

A Social Venture is an organization that is focused on its social mission — for example solving homelessness, making potable water available around the world, ending global warming, contributing to environmental quality. It can be a for-profit or not-for profit organization. Common forms are 501c(3) not-for-profit organizations for not-for-profits and Benefit Corporations for for-profit Social Ventures.

The purpose of this competition is to create new businesses and jobs in this region so you need to be located in this region.

There are a variety of ways to provide evidence that your business idea and business model can gain traction in the marketplace. Surveys, speaking with potential customers, experts in the field, data that others have collected, experiments and other ways of showing evidence are appropriate.

No, you are not obligated to what you wrote in your application. We encourage you to evolve and keep changing throughout the entire process. Let us know what you have changed and why you changed it – that demonstrates that you are continuing to think through and learn about your business. Our contact email address is INFO@STARTUPMONTEREYBAY.COM.

Yes, this new franchise business would be in the Venture Division. You can pitch a business that you are going to franchise to others; but you cannot pitch a business that you are franchising from another company.  You can’t pitch a McDonald’s franchise.

Qualifying Round

We do not ask our judges to sign a non-disclosure, but we do ask them to sign an agreement that the businesses pitched in the Startup Challenge are the intellectual property of the business owners. You should never tell others how you make your Secret Sauce, but you should tell them that you are making it and how wonderful it is!

The pitches for the Startup Challenge are public and you should take reasonable precautions not to include proprietary information in your pitch. That said, the success of most ideas lies in the execution, not in the idea itself. Pitch your idea and how it will change the world; don’t give away the intellectual property that makes your idea work.

Yes there will be workshops offered to all qualifying round participants. You will receive an email notifications of the workshop schedule and how to register.

A five-minute pitch video is required for the online Qualifying Round.

Final Round

You can view a selection of past pitches in action HERE. 

Finalists will have access to pitch workshops and a business expert mentor.

You will be judged on the following business criteria:

  • Problem and Solution
  • Market
  • Revenue and Fundraising Strategy
  • Go-To-Market Strategy
  • Competition
  • Financials and Economics
  • Team
  • Pitch Structure
  • Ability to Engage Audience
  • Pitch Clarity
  • Passion and Enthusiasm
Still Have Questions? Contact us at startupmb@startupmontereybay.com
Still Have Questions?
Contact us at startupmb@startupmontereybay.com

Frequently Asked Questions

WHO SHOULD COMPETE

Middle school through university graduate students are eligible to enter any of the divisions of the Startup Challenge.

Your product can be in the idea stage as long as you have a developed plan for the business. The Challenge is here to help you develop your idea into a successful startup business.

Your customers can be anywhere but your business must be based in the tri-county area (Monterey, San Benito, or Santa Cruz counties) or in the Gilroy area.

There is no advantage in being a business related to agriculture, marine life etc. We want to expand the economy in all industries in the tri-county area.

No, your company cannot be established for more than 2 years, nor have more than $500,000 in cumulative revenues.
Original work means that the business needs to be your own (or your team’s); you cannot pitch someone else’s business, and it also cannot be a franchise of another business. For example, pitching a new McDonald’s franchise would not be allowed. You could, however, pitch a business in which you intend to sell franchises.
Yes! You may enter different ideas. It is a lot of work to submit more than one idea so we recommend no more than two, however, if you feel you can manage more than two, go for it! You may not, however, enter the same business in multiple divisions.
The purpose of this competition is to create new businesses and jobs in this region so you need to be located in this region.

APPLICATION

No, you cannot submit the same business in more than one division.

A Social Venture is an organization that is focused on its social mission — for example solving homelessness, making potable water available around the world, ending global warming, contributing to environmental quality. It can be a for-profit or not-for profit organization. Common forms are 501c(3) not-for-profit organizations for not-for-profits and Benefit Corporations for for-profit Social Ventures.

The purpose of this competition is to create new businesses and jobs in this region so you need to be located in this region.

There are a variety of ways to provide evidence that your business idea and business model can gain traction in the marketplace. Surveys, speaking with potential customers, experts in the field, data that others have collected, experiments and other ways of showing evidence are appropriate.

No, you are not obligated to what you wrote in your application. We encourage you to evolve and keep changing throughout the entire process. Let us know what you have changed and why you changed it – that demonstrates that you are continuing to think through and learn about your business. Our contact email address is info@startupmontereybay.com.
Yes, this new franchise business would be in the Venture Division. You can pitch a business that you are going to franchise to others; but you cannot pitch a business that you are franchising from another company.  You can’t pitch a McDonald’s franchise.

Qualifying Round

We do not ask our judges to sign a non-disclosure, but we do ask them to sign an agreement that the businesses pitched in the Startup Challenge are the intellectual property of the business owners. You should never tell others how you make your Secret Sauce, but you should tell them that you are making it and how wonderful it is!
The pitches for the Startup Challenge are public and you should take reasonable precautions not to include proprietary information in your pitch. That said, the success of most ideas lies in the execution, not in the idea itself. Pitch your idea and how it will change the world; don’t give away the intellectual property that makes your idea work.
Yes there will be workshops offered to all qualifying round participants. You will receive an email notifications of the workshop schedule and how to register.
You will need to prepare a business pitch, executive summary, and a pitch deck.

Final Round

You can view a selection of past pitches in action here. 
Finalists will have access to pitch workshops and a business expert mentor.
You will be judged on the following business criteria:
  • Problem and Solution
  • Market
  • Revenue and Fundraising Strategy
  • Go-To-Market Strategy
  • Competition
  • Financials and Economics
  • Team
  • Pitch Structure
  • Ability to Engage Audience
  • Pitch Clarity
  • Passion and Enthusiasm

Introductory Workshops

Startup Challenge offers free workshops to participants to help them apply, prepare to pitch, and develop key aspects of their business.

Introduction to startup challenge Workshops schedule

These workshops are designed to help you learn how to enter, compete, and get the most out of the Startup Challenge. These workshops are open to anyone interested in applying to the Startup Challenge.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

5 – 6 PM

5 – 6 PM

5 – 6 PM

ohana shave ice

Apply Now

Startup Challenge winner

Introduction to startup challenge Workshops

These workshops are designed to help you know how to enter, compete, and get the most out of the Startup Challenge. These workshops are open to anyone interested in applying to the Startup Challenge.

Our sponsors