Venture Center, Conductor, Startup Junkie plan pitch competitions

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 559 views 

The Walton Family Foundation, Venture Noire, The Venture Center, and the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce announced “The BIG Pitch,” a virtual pitch competition for entrepreneurs of color.

Entrepreneurs will have the chance to pitch their businesses for judges on Thursday, June 4, 2020, from 3 p.m – 5 p.m.

Qualifying entrepreneurs will be entrepreneurs or CEOs of color, will be a registered, revenue-generating Arkansas business in operation for one year or more. The prize pool for three categories ranges from $5,000 to $15,000 and spans all sizes of small businesses.

Applications to pitch will close on May 21. Selected pitch participants will be notified by May 26. To apply to pitch at The BIG Pitch or to register to watch, please visit

“Entrepreneurs of color face unique challenges in the current environment, including greater difficulty accessing the funds necessary to start and operate their businesses,” said Wayne Miller, Executive Director of The Venture Center. “Through The BIG Pitch, we want to help these entrepreneurs sustain their businesses by providing much-needed cash flow for the critical months to come.”

“The BIG Pitch is an opportunity for us to be intentional about catalyzing the sustainable growth of entrepreneurs of color in Northwest Arkansas and across the state,” stated Venture Noire founder Bjorn Simmons. “As an underserved community, especially as it relates to the capital markets, we hope The BIG Pitch boosts the visibility and resources needed for selected business leaders in the midst of the spiraling uncertainties of today.”

Startup Junkie and Conductor will host the first-ever virtual, statewide IdeaFame pitch competition on Friday, June 5, with two prizes of $1,000. Anyone in Arkansas can compete by submitting a 60-second video pitch.

Anyone interested in competing has until June 1 to submit a video pitch. Videos longer than 60 seconds will not be accepted. Contestants are encouraged to be creative to capture the virtual audience and judges.

Anyone interested in pitching an idea should submit his or her video pitch by emailing it to [email protected]. Contestants should include their name, business idea name and location.

“IdeaFame Pitch Competitions are some of our most exciting events we host,” said Caleb Talley, Startup Junkie director of marketing and events. “Rather than wait and miss out on that excitement and the creative collisions that happen during these competitions, we decided to go virtual. By going virtual, we’re no longer limited by geography. What has always been a regional event is now open to the entire state, and we’re excited for the opportunity to include and connect with entrepreneurs from every corner of our state.”

“Due to the constraints we’re seeing from our new normal, innovation is at an all time high,” said Grace Rains, Conductor Director of Operations, “By offering this opportunity, we can spur further innovation and help ventures take the first step towards implementation.”

On Friday, June 5, beginning at 5:30 p.m., the audience, panel of judges and contestants will gather virtually to watch the submitted pitches. The panel of judges from across the state will select their favorite idea based on its creativity, feasibility and profitability. Audience members will vote virtually for the People’s Choice winner. Each winner will receive $1,000.