About the Big Pitch

The Big Pitch is a student entrepreneurship program run by the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI), a business incubator located on the GateWay Community College Campus in Phoenix, Arizona. This annual program takes place during Maricopa County Community College District’s Spring Break, from March 11th – 15th, 2019. Students from all 10 colleges in the district are invited to apply to the week-long accelerator and pitch at the main event on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020. The winner of the competition will receive over $20,000 in cash and business services, plus access to CEI’s business advisors, private events, and facilities for one year. The goal of this program is to help one student from MCCCD launch their business and get into revenue within a year after winning the competition. If you have what it takes to compete, please fill out this application on or before January 31, 2020

Applicant Criteria

We’re looking for at least one highly motivated student (or student team) from each Maricopa Community College. In order to be accepted into The Big Pitch program, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be enrolled in at least 3 credits at any of the Maricopa County Community Colleges during the Spring 2020 semester
  • You have a basic business plan for your idea OR you’ve recently launched your business and you’re looking for guidance and support to help it grow
  • You are serious about launching a business and getting into revenue by 2021
  • You are able to obtain an endorsement from a faculty advisor at your community college who is familiar with your business idea and work ethic

Selection Process

Each college in the Maricopa Community Community College District has a unique selection process that is determined by a designated faculty or staff member. Once you have submitted your application, that individual will receive and review your application accordingly. They will then select a semifinalist to represent their college, and all applicants will be notified of their acceptance or denial into the program by February 26, 2020. 

There are 10 seats available in The Big Pitch accelerator program and pitch competition (one per college). If you have questions about how your school plans to handle the application process after the January 31 deadline, please reach out to your college's Big Pitch representative below. 






Lana Short



Estrella Mountain

Sylvia Ong




Annette Torrey-Banks 




Gabriela Cojanu




Dan Piercy



Paradise Valley

Kishore Dash




Dawson Dopp



Sue Sandblom



South Mountain

Bruce McHenry



Rio Salado

Dr. Lily Davidov



Participant Expectations

Please read through the following information to ensure that you are willing to commit to participating in The Big Pitch before submitting your application.

Important Deadlines & Dates

All participants will be expected to meet the deadlines listed below and must be available from March 9 - 13, 2020, and on the evening of March 18, 2020. Participants are required to attend the accelerator and pitch competition in-person at the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation to be eligible for the grand prize.

August 19, 2019

The Big Pitch application submissions open

January 31, 2020

Deadline to submit student applications

February 26, 2020

Registration forms are sent to selected semifinalists

March 4, 2020

Student registration forms are due

March 9 – 13, 2020

The Big Pitch accelerator takes place from 8 am to 4 pm each day

March 18, 2020

The Big Pitch competition event takes place from 5 pm to 9 pm


The Big Pitch will take place at the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, 275 N. GateWay Drive, Phoenix, Arizona 85034. Our cross streets are 38th Street & Van Buren on the Gateway Community College Campus. All participants will be expected to provide their own transportation to CEI’s location throughout the week and on the night of the main pitch competition. Click here for a map and street view images of the building.



Application Form

IMPORTANT: Please fill out all the required (*) fields below before attempting to submit your application.