The CATS Pitch 2022 invites underrepresented founders of for-profit businesses to submit a 3-minute recorded pitch for a chance to win one of three CATS (capital, advisors, talent, space) prize packages to accelerate their entrepreneurial pursuit.
We are able to offer this competition thanks to generous support from the Regional Impact Grant from the NC IDEA Foundation. Competition organizers and judges are representatives from the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Davidson College, LaunchCLT and First Turn Innovations.
The application and pitch video are due October 24, 2022. Winners will be notified by email by November 4, 2022 and prizes will be distributed no later than December 16, 2022.
The CATS Pitch 2022 Competition is open to for-profit companies that have at least 50% historically underrepresented ownership and are legally registered/incorporated in one of the eligible counties of Central North Carolina. For purposes of this Competition, an historically underrepresented founder/owner is an individual who identifies as being: Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian or other Person of Color, LGBTQIA+, Woman/Femme, or Disabled. Eligible North Carolina counties include Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Stanly & Union.
The following entities are ineligible to receive funding and are unable to compete:
Submit the following information about your company via the online application.
Elements to consider in preparing your pitch:
Three (3) prize packages will be awarded to include:
Pitches will be judged and scored based on the following criteria:
Confidentiality is not guaranteed in any way. Do not include confidential material in your submissions. CATS Pitch 2022 Competition accepts no responsibility for preventing other competitors, judges, sponsors or others who see or hear a pitch competitor’s idea or materials from sharing the idea and/or materials. Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Covenants Not to Compete between a competitor and CATS Pitch 2022 Organizing Committee and/or judges are not permitted. Sharing your idea or concept may be deemed a public disclosure. It is the responsibility of applicants to consult with an attorney before entering the competition.
CATS Pitch 2022 Competition Organizers may take photographs and/or video of any materials used or made available by pitching individuals/teams during the competition for public relations purposes. Any content presented by a competitor should be considered public information disclosure. Competitors should carefully consider excluding any proprietary information or materials that the competitor feels is at risk of disclosure.
Funds are intended to be invested in the growth of the business. If chosen as a winner, your business is responsible for all applicable taxes.
PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT – Review the CATS Pitch 2022 Participation Agreement here.
Wednesday, February 2, 4:30-6:00pm Come stretch your idea-muscles with the Hurt Hub! In this workshop, a facilitator will guide you through a series of exercises to explore where you might discover potential opportunities for an entrepreneurial idea or innovation. We will uncover different ways to start thinking with an entrepreneurial mindset and by the end of the workshop, you’ll have an inspiration list for your next big idea!
Thursday, February 17, 4:30-6:00pmAre you new to entrepreneurship and don’t know where to begin? In this workshop, we’ll talk about the entrepreneur mindset and introduce a popular tool called the Business Model Canvas. Instructed by Dezbee McDaniel, co-founder of Clinispan Health and Innovator in Residence at UNC-Chapel, you'll learn from his experience as an entrepreneur and leave with an initial strategy for getting started with your own business idea.
Thursday, February 24, 4:30-5:30pm What goes into creating a solid pitch? What can you do to attract others to your idea and put confidence in potential investors? In this workshop, we’ll cover what should go into your pitch deck and go over the best practices and common mistakes entrepreneurs make when presenting their venture.
This workshop will be taught by Juan Garzón, Executive Director of Innovate Charlotte and Pitch Breakfast.
What goes into creating a solid pitch? What can you do to attract others to your idea and put confidence in potential investors? In this workshop, we’ll cover what should go into your pitch deck and go over the best practices and common mistakes entrepreneurs make when presenting their venture. This workshop will be taught by Juan Garzón, Executive Director of Innovate Charlotte and Pitch Breakfast.
Tuesday, March 8, 12pm-1:30pm It is critical for the entrepreneur to truly understand their customer in order to develop effective and viable solutions. In this presentation, we will go over techniques to develop empathy and understanding of your customer as well as discuss market sizing and potential.
Wednesday, March 23, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Entrepreneurship is anything but linear, and it can be difficult knowing where you should focus your resources. In this panel discussion, we will chat with three entrepreneurs about how they’ve gone about prioritizing and selecting the people, tools, and processes they use to run a successful startup.
Part of the Hub Club Lunch series!
Thursday, March 24, 6:30p-8:00pm
Monday, April 4, 4:30pm-6:00pm
Establishing strong agreements helps enforce the policies and procedures your venture needs to keep healthy working relationships. In this workshop, we will discuss the important considerations in creating strong contracts and agreements for your small business as well as what kind of agreements that might come up as an entrepreneur. This workshop is in partnership with Michael Best and will be instructed by Michael Fulks and David Sigmon.
Thursday, April 7, 3:30-5:30pm
Perfect your pitch by attending this speed mentoring event where experienced business mentors will listen and provide feedback on your presentation.
This event is designed for the selected finalists of the Nisbet Venture Fund. A registration link will be provided in an e-mail to those selected.
Individuals or teams must include an enrolled Davidson College student or recent Davidson alumni from a graduating class between 2016-2021. We accept applications from any profit business model.
No, but they must own at least 25% of the company.
Acceleration Track Finalists: Yes. Finalists selected for the Acceleration track are assigned and required to participate in weekly mentoring sessions. Teams are also encouraged to attend any relevant events or clinics hosted at the Hub. Non-local alumni and students studying abroad must participate in remote mentoring sessions.
Incubation Track Finalists: Are encouraged to attend office hours at the Hurt Hub leading up to the pitch competition, though it is not a requirement. Incubation Track Finalists are not assigned a specific mentor. Teams are also encouraged to attend the educational workshops and clinics hosted by the Hurt Hub.
Usually, one finalist team on the Acceleration Track takes home the entire $25,000 prize. When the judges believe there should be more than one winner, they have the discretion to divide up the prize. In addition, there is no requirement that the judges make an investment in any team. The investment will be granted in the judges’ discretion.
The Incubation Track finalists will compete for the $2,500 prize and all finalists are placed in the same pool for the $5,000 audience choice award.
We generally reimburse up to $250.
Investment from the Nisbet Venture Fund is an investment by Davidson College (or a subsidiary of the college) in a Davidson student or young alumni business venture.
While teams may compete and win the investment without being incorporated (or, in the case of a limited liability company, organized), the investment will only be disbursed to a corporation or limited liability company. The winning team(s) will have the option to structure the investment as either a convertible note or a warrant. If the convertible note structure is selected, then the team will enter into a Convertible Promissory Note and a Loan Agreement with Davidson College or a subsidiary of the college (referred to as the “Investor”). If the warrant structure is selected, then the team will enter into a Warrant and Investment Agreement with the Investor.
Sebastian Charmot (’22) + Oğuzhan Çölkesen (’22)
Emre Koc (’20) + Altan Tutar (’20) + Huseyin Altinisik (’21)
Mariem Bchir (’20)
Nathan Engstrom (’21) + Zane Libke (’21)
Kim Bako (’21) + Patrick Sullivan (’21)
Lorena James (’21)
Andrew Wright (’20) + Jackson Miller (’20)
Arianna Montero-Colbert (’19)
Houston Downes (’18)
Charlie Goldberg (’19)
Get it Poppin’ Clothing Line
Peter (Andy) Baay (’17)
Data Engineer at Tresata, Armfield Capital Management, LLC
Violet Degnan (’17)
Scott Cunningham (16’)
Tori Mayernick (’14)
Hives for Lives
Jared Blakney (’14)
Generations Tee Shirt Co.