Eligibility, Introduction, Registration, Divisions Options

Who Is Eligible:

  • Start-ups (not yet operational) and emerging businesses may apply.
  • Existing early-stage businesses must be located in the Monterey Bay region (Monterey, San Benito, or Santa Cruz counties).
  • The business idea must be your original work that you can fully disclose.

Attend an Introduction to Startup Challenge session

These sessions will give you valuable information about how to enter, learn, and be successful in the Challenge.  See the workshops page for information on upcoming sessions.  If you cannot attend a live session, the informational slides are available on the Resources page here.

Register for the Challenge, and attend a Creating a Successful Pitch workshop

You need to register first to apply for the Challenge. After you register, you can then start the application or return at another time to start your application. Registration will help us keep you informed on any updates to this year’s Challenge. After you register you are eligible to attend Creating a Successful Pitch workshop. The schedule for these workshops will be listed on the workshops page. The Pitch workshops will be held during  March, 2018.

Complete the application online and submit it before midnight on Monday, March 12, 2018. 

Applicants compete in one of three divisions:

  • Main Street Division: Local and regional businesses that are not intended to scale, but will still have an economic impact regionally.
  • Venture Division: Businesses intended to scale nationally or internationally and provide venture capital-level returns in three-five years.
  • Student Division: Student entrepreneurs and teams. Applicants under age 18 must have their parents or guardians sign the Liability Waiver Form at the Qualifying Round Pitch.

NOTE:  If you are a student with a business plan that is venture fundable or ready to be taken into the world as a Main-Street business, you are welcome to enter either the Venture or Main Street division.

All applicants must participate in person in the Qualifying Round Pitch on April 7, 2018 at CSU Monterey Bay. Participants make a 5 minute verbal pitch to a panel of judges (without PowerPoint slides).