Moonshot, part of the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, is hosting its first start-up pitch competition this month, with budding entrepreneurs vying for cash and the chance to bring their ideas to the marketplace.
The inaugural Sharks in Space contest promises to combine the excitement of the reality series Shark Tank with a showcase for ambitious and ground-breaking entrepreneurial ideas, otherwise known as “moonshots.”
“Northern Arizona is a hotbed of innovation and experimentation,” said Scott Hathcock, president/CEO of Moonshot at NACET. “We are hoping to attract the dreamers, designers, scientists, engineers, technologists and other innovators who may have the next great idea.”
Entrepreneurs will be competing for more than $15,000 in cash prizes and scholarships, including a chance to become an affiliate of NACET’s Moonshot program for a year. The program is designed to take entrepreneurs and their ideas through a rigorous process resulting in a viable product or investment-ready concept by the program’s end.
Additional scholarships will be offered by event sponsors looking for startups that align with their business area of focus. For example, Northern Arizona University plans to offer scholarship funding to a student entrepreneur; W.L. Gore & Associates will be looking for a medical product-related start-up to support; and The NARBHA Institute plans to award a prize to a start-up working in behavioral science.
Sharks in Space candidates must submit an online application and post a 2-minute pitch video about their product or service on YouTube by Friday, Feb. 16. Applicants will need to explain their start-up idea, what they feel their unique selling proposition is, and why their product is better than what is already on the market.
Competition finalists will make 5-minute pitches before a panel of business leaders on Sunday, Feb. 25, starting at 3 p.m. They will be judged on the strength of their presentation, which needs to demonstrate they have an innovative product and understand how they need to position it in order to be a successful start-up.
“For the Moonshot scholarship, we’ll be choosing companies we believe we can help by providing at least one of what we call ‘the three C’s’ – capital, clients or connections,” said Hathcock.
The event, at Lowell Observatory, is free and open to the public and presented by the City of Flagstaff and Choose Flagstaff.
Title sponsors of the event are APS and Sunwest Bank. Supporting sponsors include Lowell Observatory, AWD Law, Kinney Construction Services and Nordstrom & Associates. Sponsorships of scholarships are NAU, W.L Gore & Associates and The NARBHA Institute.
Source: AZ Daily Sun