A Different 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. The 2022 competition will differ from past competitions.

Each of the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges will pick a maximum of three student companies (instead of one) who will be semifinalists for The Big Pitch competition for 2022.

After the college selection, there is an additional layer of judging. The 30 student companies will submit business materials and a presentation deck to be judged by independent ecosystem entrepreneurs and mentors.  The ten top scoring companies from this judging period will move on to compete in The Big Pitch in-person competition.

All 30 semifinalists will attend a mandatory three-day boot camp run by a team of Maricopa County Community College Business Faculty members during Spring Break to help the semifinalists prepare for the pitch competition taking place on April 13, 2022. 

An additional change this year is that there will be three cash prize winners. Included with the cash awards, the three winners will be able to attend the CEI Market Validation Essentials program which will help the companies determine product-market fit and learn the industry they are joining.

First place - $15,000

Second place - $7,000

Third place - $3,000

If you have what it takes to compete, please reach out to your college's faculty contact (listed below) to find out specific deadlines and how they plan to select a candidate.

Qualification Requirements

We’re looking for highly motivated students (or student teams) from each Maricopa Community College. In order to be accepted into The Big Pitch program, you’ll need to meet and sign off on the following criteria:

You must be enrolled in at least 3 credits at any of the Maricopa County Community Colleges during the semester you are applying to compete.

You have a business plan for your idea OR you’ve launched your business and you are serious about growing the business in 2022.

You understand that the winning funds will be used for business expenses only and the expenses must be approved by your college representative.

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.

NOTE: We highly recommend asking your faculty advisor for permission to include their name and their preferred contact information in case we need to call with follow-up questions during the selection process

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. 

If you have questions about how your school plans to handle the application process, please reach out to your college's Big Pitch representative below.

College Contact Name Email Address
Chandler-Gilbert Lisa Farmer lisa.farmer@cgc.edu
Glendale Gabriela Cojanu gabriela.cojanu@gccaz.edu
Mesa Dan Piercy daniel.piercy@mesacc.edu
Paradise Valley Kishore Dash kishore.dash@paradisevalley.edu
Phoenix Dawson Dopp
Sherlyn Celaya
Scottsdale Mark Barton mark.barton@scottsdalecc.edu
South Mountain Bruce McHenry bruce.mchenry@southmountaincc.edu
Rio Salado Dr. Lily Davidov lily.davidov@riosalado.edu
Estrella Mountain Kortney Song kortney.song@estrellamountain.edu
GateWay Christine Wixom christine.wixom@gatewaycc.edu

Participant Expectations

Please read through the following information to ensure that you are willing to commit to participating in The Big Pitch and contact your college's designated faculty contact before submitting your application.

Important Deadlines & Dates

All participants will be expected to meet the deadlines listed below and must be available for the three-day Boot Camp and the pitch prep meeting. In addition, you must agree to the following conditions:

  • I am 18 years of age or older.
  • I agree to form a legal entity for the business (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, Non-profit Corp) within 90 days of winning The Big Pitch.
  • I agree to open and use a commercial bank account, in the name of the business and opened using an EIN number (not a personal Social Security number)
  • I acknowledge that the competition judges via the platform and the final competition are done by independent judges from the ecosystem and/or MCCCD and agree to accept the outcome as final.
  • I agree to treat all Big Pitch staff, mentors, college representatives, other competing companies and any other people involved with the program for the full year after winning in a manner that maintains professionalism and generally accepted standards of human dignity and courtesy. I agree that failing to do so will result in forfeiture of any or all of the funding award as determined by my college representative.
Date Event
January 3, 2022 - February 28, 2022 Apply to the Big Pitch
March 4, 2022 Student nominations solidified
March 8, 2022 Registration & Terms must be signed and returned. If this is not received, you will not move forward in the competition. 
March 14, 2022 Semifinalists receive link to the register in the platform.
March 14 - 16, 2022 Boot camp takes place each day.
March 25, 2022 Deadline for business competition.
March 28 - April 7, 2022 Round 1 judging.
April 8, 2022 10 finalists are announced. 
April 11, 2022 Mandatory pitch meeting at 5 p.m.
April 13, 2022 Round 2, in-person pitch contest from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.


Before filling out this form, please reach out to your college's designated faculty contact to learn about your school's selection process.