funding pitch competition for creatives...

2021 Pitch Competition is TBD. We are looking at a virtual opportunity. The information below is for our traditional in-person event which we hope to return to in 2022.



  • $2,500 minimum prize pool to be distributed at judges discretion between finalists

  • Applicants will be able to select the amount of funding they are requesting: $100, $250, $500, and $1,000. 



The competition is geared towards creatives in the visual, performing, literary, and media arts.  Past winners have included photographers, theater producers, multi-media artists, event managers, and more. This year, participants are able to select a specified amount of funding for something specific rather than pitch an entire business or business concept. 


  • The competition is open to all students who are enrolled in at least one course at the undergraduate or graduate level during the 2019-20 academic year. *High School students are also eligible to enter but must also have a letter of endorsement from a teacher or administrator.

  • You do not have to have started a business to enter. Your pitch can be for funding for an idea that you have. 

  • There should be some arts/creative component to the work that the funding would go towards supporting. 


Entry Development:

  • Check out our virtual pitch webinar from 2017 (video below)

  • Finalist Development: There will be two on-site workshops on Saturday, February 22nd at the SEA Conference. Finalists are highly encouraged to attend one of these sessions.

  • Post Competition: All finalists will have the opportunity to meet in person or virtually with one or more judges after the competition to receive feedback.















Entry deadline:

January 31st, 2020

Submission Process:

On-line form completed and submitted by midnight CST on January 31st, 2020. (Please note that you will receive a confirmation screen and confirmation email. If you do not receive these, your application did not go through.) High school student submissions should have letters of endorsement emailed to by the deadline too.



Up to 20 finalists will be chosen to present his/her pitch at the 20th Annual SEA Conference which will be held February 22nd & 23rd at Columbia College in Chicago, IL. Pitches will take place on Sunday, February 23rd. Finalists must be present to win. Winners will be announced during the closing session on Sunday. Anyone winning funding must submit a W-9 to SEA so that we can process your prize. FINALISTS WILL BE NOTIFIED NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 8TH, 2020 BY 11:59 PM CST. Please note that finalists attend the conference for FREE but still need to register for the event.



Online applications will be reviewed with up to 20 finalists selected. On-site the finalists will present in front of a panel of judges and also answer questions. New for 2020, Finalists will have up to 3 minutes for their pitch followed by up to 5 minutes of Q & A time from the judges. Based on the application, live pitch, and answers in the Q&A time they will decide how to distribute the prize pool. 


On-Site Workshops:

There will be two workshops on Saturday. Finalists are encouraged to attend.


Submission Process:

  • All submissions require a faculty or administrator contact at your school. We strongly encourage you to work closely with them on your submission. High school submissions also require a letter of support from a teacher or administrator. This letter should be emailed to

  • For more resources, please see the additional links on this page. 

  • If any of the judges have a question on your submission, we will email you at the email you have provided on your online application.

  • If you have any questions regarding any aspect of this competition, please contact the SEA Director at or 630-637-5468


Copyright 2014 - Business Model Foundry

NOT REQUIRED FOR 2020 but still a great resource!