Entrepreneurs invited to apply to pitch for $250K

The CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge, the richest annual business pitch competition in Colorado,  will begin accepting online applications on Dec. 1, 2014. Collegiate entrepreneurs from the state of Colorado, startups seeking capital, and existing businesses seeking expansion capital are invited to apply to compete for a grand prize package of $250,000 in funding and a 12-month business mentoring program.

The competition will take place the week of May 26-30, 2015, on the Colorado State University campus, during the second annual Fort Collins Startup Week. Interested entrepreneurs may learn more about the application criteria and submit applications to compete in one of two tracks at the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises website:

  • The Enterprise Track competition is open to startups and established companies in any industry. Applicants in this track must be based in the United States and have gross revenue of $100,000 in the past 12 months or have raised a minimum of $100,000 in capital. This competition will award a $250,000 grand prize and other awards.
  • The Collegiate Track competition is open to actively enrolled undergraduate or graduate student entrepreneurs attending any accredited university or college in Colorado or graduated in the last 12 months from an accredited university in the State of Colorado. This competition will award a $20,000 grand prize and other awards.

The 2014 inaugural challenge attracted 133 applications from eight states across the country, including teams from four Colorado colleges and universities, representing 22 distinct industries. Finalists pitched ideas ranging from health care to sustainable farming, manufacturing to online service providers. Winners are taking their businesses to the next level as far away as Vietnam and as close to home as Loveland.

This year, the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge will feature a tournament structure that uses a bracket format. Entrepreneurs will be seeded to compete in a single-elimination pitch tournament. Teams will make timed business presentations to a panel of expert judges who will provide on-the-spot votes.

The deadline to apply for the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge (both tracks) is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time Jan. 16, 2015.

Applicants, potential sponsors, and interested volunteers can find out more at the challenge website. Questions about the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge may be directed to Christine Chin, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business.

Fort Collins Startup Week