Application period to become a contestant is now closed. JOIN US IN THE AUDIENCE!

3rd Annual

Pitch or Ditch

In partnership with the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce and the Wilmington Public Library, UWDE proudly presents the 3rd Annual Pitch or Ditch minority small business competition. This fast-paced pitch competition provides an outlet for minority entrepreneurs to showcase their original business ideas to a panel of judges and compete for cash prizes.

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Thursday | January 25, 2024

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6:00 pm

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Wilmington Public Library

3rd Annual

PANCAKES & PROGRESS

In partnership with the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce and the Wilmington Public Library, UWDE proudly presents the 3rd Annual Pitch or Ditch minority small business competition. This fast-paced pitch competition provides an outlet for minority entrepreneurs to showcase their original business ideas to a panel of judges and compete for cash prizes. 

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Thursday | January 25, 2024

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6:00 pm

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Wilmington Public Library

What is the Pitch or Ditch Competition?

Pitch or Ditch is a fast-paced business pitch competition modeled after ABC’s hit tv-show Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs from around the country present their businesses to a panel of potential investors and partners.

A select group of entrepreneurs will be given three minutes to pitch an original business idea and up to five additional minutes to answer questions from the judges. The judges will deliberate to decide which contestants take home the cash prizes. Participants are evaluated on knowledge of their industry, knowledge of their business finances, effectiveness of their presentation, and their ability to end on time.

Last year’s panel of judges featured local and national business leaders, including American business consultant, Dr. Randal Pinkett, the season four winner of The Apprentice

We invite you to join us for this incredible pitch event as we highlight Delaware’s most impressive new entrepreneurs. 

Nikita E. Thomas, 2023 Pitch or Ditch Business Competition Winner

Meet Last Year’s Judges

Last year’s panel of judges features both national and local business leaders. Let’s meet them.

Brian DiSabatino, EDIS Construction

Brian DiSabatino

President & CEO
EDIS, LLC.
Tanisha George, Trilogy One Consulting

Tanisha George

President
Trilogy One Consulting
Denita Henderson, Managing Director, Pennovention Works

Denita Henderson

Associate State Director
Delaware Small Business Development Center
Chris Kenny - CEO, Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware

Chris Kenny

President & CEO
Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware
Italo Carrier-Russo, V&M Italian Bistro

Italo Carrieri-Russo

Co-Owner & GM
V&M Italian-American Bistro
Dr. Randall Pinkett, Pitch or Ditch

Dr. Randal Pinkett

Chairman & CEO
BCT Partners & Winner of “The Apprentice”

Event Details

Entrepreneurs interested in competing in the Pitch or Ditch minority small business competition, must complete and submit the application by November 3, 2023. If you do not complete and submit an application you will not be considered for the competition. To learn more, be sure to register for the Pitch or Ditch information session held via Zoom on October 10th, or read the event details contained in the questions on this page. We can’t wait to see you there!

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Thursday | January 25, 2024

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6:00 pm

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Wilmington Public Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t wait. Get answers to your most pressing questions about the Pitch or Ditch competition by checking out the FAQs below.

How do I apply to be a contestant?

You can apply today by completing and submitting the Pitch or Ditch application form located here. We anticipate a lot of applications so be sure to apply sooner than later to be considered.

Who is eligible to apply?

Here are the rules for eligibility:

  • Competitors must be 18 years of age or older by the time the application is due to participate.  
  • The majority ownership (51%) of the business or idea must be held, managed, or controlled by a person who is of a racial minority group.  
  • The business is required to be registered in Delaware and be able to show upon request an active state of Delaware business license.
  • Only businesses that have been established for 2 to 7 years are eligible.
  • The business must either be a member of the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce or presently or formerly be a client in the Stand By Me Minority Small Business Program.
How can I learn more about Pitch or Ditch?

To learn more about the competition, we suggest downloading a copy of the official rules. DOWNLOAD NOW.

Also, you can learn more by attending the information session on October 10th. You can sign-up for that session by clicking here.

Finally, for any specific questions or further details, including sponsorship opportunities, you can reach out to Tierra Fair at tfair@uwde.org.

 

What if my business is two years old by the date of the competition?

Your business MUST be two years old by the date the application is due.

Is my business required to have gained revenue?

No.

What if the CEO cannot make the pitch?

The CEO is expected to be present at the competition.

How many businesses will be competing?

There will be three finalists in this year’s competition.

What if I am under 18 and want to apply?

You MUST be at least 18 by the time the application is due.

How can I become a sponsor?

We have different sponsorship opportunities available. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, please reach out to Tierra Fair at tfair@uwde.org.

How do I become a member of the DEBCC or Stand By Me: Minority Small Business Program?

To become a member of the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce, click here. To
become a member of Stand By Me: Minority Small Business Program, click here.

What if I have a co-owner who is not a minority?

To be eligible for this competition, a minority entrepreneur must own the majority (51%) of the business.

What are the important dates?
  • October 2nd: The Pitch or Ditch application is released
  • October 10th: Information Session
  • November 3rd: Applicants must submit their applications by this date
  • December 14th: Chosen applicants will be announced, giving contestants more than one month to prepare
  • January 25th: Competition Day!
What if I can't make the information session, can I still apply?

Yes. The information session will also be recorded for your future reference.

What is the prize?

Last year, the winner of the Pitch or Ditch was awarded $10,000! We haven’t finalized
prizes this year, we are hoping to give more.

What is expected in the video portion of my application?

We want to get to know you and your business! The video portion of the application is
intentionally left vague because we want to see how you interpret and handle this
question. The video can only help your chances of being selected and cannot deduct
points from your overall score.

What if I don't have time to record and edit a 60-second video?

The video portion of the application should not be viewed as a point of stress. The video
will not be weighted heavily compared to the short answer questions. In fact, the video
can only help your chances of being chosen as a contestant and will only used as a
deciding factor in the event of a tie.

What if I still have more questions?

If your question was not answered, email Raina Allen- rallen@uwde.org for more
information.

Watch the 2023 Recap!

Want to learn more about the competition format or looking for more inspiration to get you started? Watch Pitch or Ditch 2023 to see finalists, and other participants from last year.

Join us LIVE in Wilmington!

Unfortunately, the application window to apply for the competition has closed, but you can still join us LIVE for the 2024 Pitch or Ditch competition on January 25th. Click below to reserve your seat today!

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