Pitch the Entrepreneurship Summit

Competition Rules

An elevator pitch verbally outlines an entrepreneurial concept or idea in a short period of time. It is typically three minutes in duration, which is symbolic of the amount of time one would have on an elevator ride to capture the attention of a potential investor in the concept. Paradoxically, it takes a lot longer to outline an idea that is not clearly formulated and thought-through than it does to present one about which you have a deep understanding. Thus, a successful elevator pitch requires significant prior thought and research and culminates in the ability to clearly and succinctly highlight the most compelling aspects of a proposed venture.

In preparing a pitch, teams or individuals should answer the following questions based on research and data, not opinions:

  • What is the product or service?
  • What need does it address?
  • How can you prove this need? What have you learned via customer discovery?
  • How does your product or service/attributes match the needs of your target market?
  • Who are your key competitors in the marketplace?
  • What is your competitive advantage/secret sauce?
  • What is your business model/how will your business make money?
  • What scalable or growth opportunities exist for the enterprise?
  • How much startup capital do you need and what are your revenue projections? If relevant, what have you achieved already?

1. Executive Summary or Business Model Canvas (your choice)

This must be provided concurrent with your first round pitch and for those who advance, will be provided to the judges prior to the final round Business Pitch.  

2. Business Pitch

A three minute pitch of a concept or idea. While the oral presentation may involve the use of slides, props, or other visual material, it should stand on its own without a written business plan. Unlike a business plan competition, an elevator pitch allows students to bring concepts forward based on raw potential and momentum with the understanding that operational and logistics details may not yet be determined.

3. (Optional) Prototype/Website/Sales Data

While an actual business entity is not required to pitch, the most successful competitors in the past have some initial traction in the form of a working product or service, a user base, early revenue, or some other proof-of-concept.

Participating individuals or teams will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to panels of judges, with the most successful pitches advancing through three rounds of competition. Winning teams will receive resources to develop a business plan and prototype and to move forward towards implementation

Pitch the Summit is an opportunity designed to benefit Emory University students. The lead presenter(s) and envisioned founder(s) of the venture must be enrolled in a degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate division of the University.

In the case of a group pitch, the majority of venture founding members must be enrolled students in Emory University. Additional team members may be drawn from the community or affiliated with other universities. There are no restrictions in terms of resources and connections. Pitching teams may draw upon expertise, advisors, or other assistance from any source.

Each team will be limited to one entry in the competition.

Individuals can only be members of one team.

Teams cannot add additional members between competition rounds.


An individual or group of individuals may pitch. While there is no minimum or maximum team size, it should be noted that it is difficult for a large group of people to deliver an elevator pitch. Teams that consist of both graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to participate.

In each round, each team will be allotted 20 minutes with the judges:

  • 15 minutes to pitch their idea
  • 5 minutes for Q&A with the judges. Each round will allow participants to have 15 minutes to pitch their idea or concept and 5 minutes for Q&A with the judges.

Teams will not be able to change their overall concept or idea between rounds. Teams can modify their presentation and practice to polish their delivery, but the fundamental concept or idea must remain the same throughout the competition.

Teams will be able to use PowerPoint, visual aids, props, or other items during their pitch.



First Round

(Monday - Friday from February 19 - March 1)

Each team will sign up for one 20-minute timeslot for their pitch. First rounds will occur Monday - Friday between February 19 - March 1. Sign-ups will be first come, first served. First round judging will be done by a panel largely consisting of MBA candidates from the Goizueta Business School.


Teams selected to advance to the semi-final round will be eligible to participate in a coaching session with a Business Communication Coach at Goizueta Business School. The focus of the session will be on style and approach, not on the content of the venture itself. Coaching sessions will be announced in the coming weeks. Teams may sign up for coaching on a first come, first served basis.

Note: The winner of the Siperstein Business Plan Competition may bypass first round judging and automatically advance to the semi-final round of the Pitch the Summit competition.

Semi-Final Round

(Friday, March 22)

The teams with the highest total scores from the first round will be invited to present on the afternoon of Friday, March 22. The pitch format will remain the same as the first round. Judging will occur in two classrooms concurrently. The panel of judges will consist of Emory alumni entrepreneurs.

Final Round

(Friday, March 22)

The teams with the highest scores from each semi-final room will advance to the final round. The pitch format will remain the same as in previous rounds. All teams will be present for the entirety of the round and will be able to watch the other finalists' pitches. After all pitches are complete, there will be a short break for judging deliberations. Judges will award 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes. The judges’ determination will be final.


Winning individuals and teams will receive guidance, financial support, and in-kind contributions in order to move the venture forward.

There will be $25,000 in cash prizes distributed to the top three teams to enable them to move forward with their concept. The cash prizes listed below are for the entire team, not for individual team members. Prizes will be allocated as follows:

  • First Place: $10,000
  • Second Place (graduate and undergraduate division): $5,000 each
  • Third Place (graduate and undergraduate division): $2,500 each 

The top team will also be awarded a seat for a (choice of) summer or semester at Atlanta Tech Village. Multiple finalist teams may receive offers of mentorship and guidance from the alumni panel. 

Confidentiality is not guaranteed. If a team wishes to keep elements of their concept or idea confidential, the team should not include that information in the pitch. There is no way for Emory Entrepreneurship Summit or its organizers to enforce a prohibition against other competitors, audience members, or judges who see or hear a pitch from sharing the concept, idea, and/or materials with others.

By participating in the Pitch the Summit Competition, competitors agree that Emory University, Goizueta Business School, and all related parties assume no liability and shall have no liability or obligation whatsoever for disclosures of information provided by a competitor as part of a submission or otherwise during the competition. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) between a competitor and the judges and/or audience members will not be required or allowed.