Delaware 2019 Swimming with the Sharks Pitch Competition

By Michael Kupfer Monday, September 2, 2019

Swimming with the Sharks pitch competitionAre you operating a killer start-up business in the state of Delaware? Apply for a chance to participate in the upcoming Swimming with the Sharks Pitch Competition in Wilmington, Delaware.

Harvard Business Services is a proud sponsor of this annual event, presented by Delaware’s Emerging Enterprise Center in partnership with the New Castle County Office of Economic Development.

Taking place on November 1, 2019, the event gives three entrepreneurs the opportunity, Shark Tank-style, to impress a panel of judges with their startup concept. The winner will receive a generous prize package that includes a $10,000 check.

Eligibility for the competition is limited to startups that fit the following criteria:

  • In business for fewer than five years
  • For-profit business model
  • Located and operating in the state of Delaware
  • Valid business license held by entrants

How to Enter

If you or someone you know fits the description above, we encourage you to take part in the competition by submitting an application. Details can be found in the Pitch Submission Guidelines. The deadline to enter is 5:00 pm on September 12, 2019.

Entrants who meet the initial criteria will be invited to pitch their business before a private panel between September 16th and October 4th. From these presentations, three finalists will be selected to pitch again – this time with a live audience – at the Swimming with the Sharks event.

Prize Package

All three finalists will receive a complementary one-year membership to the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. The Grand Prize winner will also receive:

  • $10,000 Cash Prize
  • Six month membership in EEC Virtual Incubator Program ($1,800 value)
  • Incorporation Package from us, Harvard Business Services, Inc. ($450+ value)
  • New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Premium Marketing Package ($1,400 value)

We are happy to provide our incorporation services to the winning competitor. Some startup founders choose to operate as a sole proprietorship in the beginning. The reasons that founders make this common mistake is because they believe they are saving money, they do not understanding how to incorporate, or they simply don’t prioritize the incorporation process during the launch and growth phases. In reality, sole proprietorships create significant risk for the founder(s).

Because sole proprietorships are not recognized as a formal entity type, all of the business’s liabilities, debts and obligations are assumed by the individuals behind the company. In the event of bankruptcy or a lawsuit, this can mean personal assets – your home, your car, etc. – are in jeopardy. While we always recommend speaking with an attorney and/or an accountant on these matters, creating a Delaware LLC or corporation creates a division between your personal and business assets.

One additional consideration worth mentioning is that corporations, as opposed to LLCs, are generally preferred in the event that the company seeks capital investment. To attract investors, the company can sell shares, representing ownership (also referred to as equity). LLCs do not typically have shares, making it more complicated to trade ownership for investment.

Judging Criteria

So, what exactly will the competing startups be judged on?

Submissions will be judged by a panel of judges with a range of business expertise. Initial submissions will be judged on the following criteria, each of which will carry 20 points for a maximum total score of 100:

  • Overall impression of business outline and feasibility of business.
  • Is there a clear understanding of the market need and opportunity?
  • Does the outline clearly articulate a value proposition?
  • Does the business have a clear go-to-market strategy?
  • Does the business have a realistic revenue model and financial projections?

Think your startup has what it takes? Apply before the September 12th deadline!

*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.

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