Stillman School of Business
Winner of 2018 Pirates Pitch


Pirates Pitch 2023 is the 13th annual Seton Hall University Startup Competition. Sponsored by the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the competition encourages student teams to dream up an idea for a business, or, if a student already has started a business, then an idea to expand that fledgling business. The student teams pitch that idea, or speak about their existing startup business, to a panel of judges comprised of successful entrepreneurs. During the Finals round, the panel of judges will select First, Second and Third place winning teams. All students, faculty, alumni, families and members of the public are invited to attend the event and vote for their favorite team. The Finalist team with the most votes will win the $500 Audience Choice Award. The First place winner will receive $8,000; the Second place winner will receive $4,500 and the Third place winner will receive $3,000.

Who's eligible?
Student teams can range in size from one to six students. At least one member of the team must be an undergraduate or graduate matriculated student who is enrolled at Seton Hall University. Other team members must be college students as well, although not necessarily at SHU. However, only members of the team enrolled at SHU are allowed to present in the Semi-Finalist and Finalist rounds.

How do I apply?
Create a two-page Executive Summary describing your proposed or existing businesses. Please use this Template as a guideline.

Or, instead of the written executive summary you have the option of creating a 3-minute video about your startup addressing the issues outlined in the Executive Summary Template.

Your Executive Summary or 3-Minute Video is due by midnight on Friday, March 3, 2023.

Please email to Susan Scherreik, Director, CIE at [email protected] (The video should be posted on YouTube and the link emailed to Susan Scherreik.)

What's next?
A panel of preliminary judges will review the applications and select the Finalists teams in the Preliminary Round Competition. Finalists teams will be announced by Wednesday, March 15.

What happens if I make it to the Finalist Round?
If your team is selected as a finalist to compete in the Finalist Round you’ll need to write a five to seven page typed, double-spaced Business Plan that provides more details on the points that you addressed in your Executive Summary or 3-minute video. The business plan is a road map to how you are going to turn a great idea into a profit making venture, or a business that provides social good. You’ll discuss your company and its services and/or products, describe the industry and your competition, and talk about your management team members and their skills. How are your products/services different from what already exists, and how will you market them? How much money do you estimate you’ll need, and how will you finance the venture? What are your goals, and what is the timetable for accomplishing them? You’ll address these issues in your business plan. Every finalist team will be awarded a free three-month LivePlan startup development software subscription that will enable them to easily create a professional quality Business Plan.

The Finale: Pirates Pitch Day
Each of the Finalists teams will pitch their ideas in a 5-minute oral presentation with Power Point to a panel of judges at Pirates Pitch, scheduled for Wednesday April 12, 2023 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Seton Hall University Center Theatre. The judges will ask each team questions and award First, Second, and Third-place prizes to the top teams. The audience will also vote for its favorite team and the team with the most votes will win the $500 Audience Choice Award.

What are the judging criteria?
Pirates Pitch: The competition will reward the innovativeness of the business idea, and the quality of the written business plan and oral presentations. The judges will be especially looking for creative and innovative thinking about new markets, products and services. Also important, the teams will be judged on their perceived ability to execute the idea and turn it into a viable, profitable business.

Can I enter if I have already started a business?
Yes, as long as your new venture has not received funding from venture capital firms, and the total amount of outside funding is less than $150,000.

What is the best way to prepare?
CIE will put you in touch with a mentor at any time during the process to assist you. Plus, our Workshops (see Home Page for details) will provide information about the contest. Please also review the Resources for Startups page.

In addition, Walsh Library has created a custom resource guide located here of the University’s library resources specifically for students interested in entrepreneurship.