Black Start-Up Project: Pitch your business for $500

We’re inviting Black entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada to pitch your business for the chance to win $500! Participants will share a 2-minute video pitch and receive feedback from Black industry experts.

The top 15 video pitches will be invited to present their pitches at AYA Day to a panel of Black business experts.

  • The top 5 will win a $500 cash prize each to put towards their business.
  • The first 50 pitches submitted overall will receive $50 each.

Vous voulez présenter votre entreprise en français ? Visitez notre page Web en français.

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended to Dec 2!

To ensure everyone has a chance to put together a great pitch, we’re extending the deadline to December 2, 2022, at 12 noon. This means that we are also moving AYA Day to December 13, 2022. 

If you have any questions about the pitch competition or AYA Day, please reach out to us at

Deadline: December 2, 2022, at 12 noon.

How to Submit a Pitch

All pitches must be submitted through the above VideoAsk link.

Pitching can be an uncomfortable or new process, and we hope this humanized format helps you feel less apprehensive about pitching! VideoAsk is a web and phone app that lets you ask your audience questions and receive answers face-to-face. Follow the prompts to submit your pitch. 

You will have two minutes to record your pitch.

The link above will allow you to record your pitch on your phone or laptop/desktop. Once you finish recording you can either select ‘yes’ if you are ready to submit or ‘no’ if you want to record your pitch again. Please note you will not be sharing your screen or pitch deck during your video pitch.

We’ll ask you for…

  • Your full name and contact information
  • Your business name or idea 
  • Your industry and stage of business
  • How long you have been in business
  • Your core challenges and primary needs as a founder
  • A two-minute pitch explaining your business idea

Once you have submitted your pitch, our panel of judges will review it and offer 3-5 sentences of feedback for you based on what you have done well and what could be improved or reflected on. 

The top 15 pitches will be shared at AYA Day, a virtual celebration for the first round of START programming. The 15 entrepreneurs will have the chance to answer questions from our panel of judges. The top 5 pitches will win $500 each to put toward their business.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to submit a pitch, you must…

  • Identify as a Black entrepreneur
  • Be based in Atlantic Canada

Submitting a pitch will NOT prevent you from participating in future opportunities.

Winning a pitch competition in the START stream will not prevent you from pitching the same idea or business in other pitch competitions that the Black Start-Up Project offers (for example, pitch competitions offered in our Build or Accelerate Streams).

You can pitch an idea in this START competition a maximum of two times. Winners will not be allowed to pitch the same idea/business at future START competitions. New businesses or ideas from the same company or founders are permitted.

Join us at AYA Day!

Join us at AYA Day on December 13th to support the entrepreneurs with the top 15 pitches, hear expert feedback from our judges that you may be able to incorporate into your own business, and learn more about what’s coming next for the Black Start-Up Project.

Everyone is welcome to attend this virtual event!

Tips on How to Pitch

Make sure to communicate your business purpose clearly. Tell us your ‘why’—why is it that X exists in the world? What gap does X fill? Who would miss you if X did not exist? Consider including a sentence about your background and why you are the person to run this business. 

Be clear about what problem your idea/business is solving for your target market/ customers. Support your problem or solution with data and facts.

Consider the profitability and user base of your product or service. How will your business make money? Who are your target clients and total addressable market? Be able to identify your differentiating and unique factors if there are competitors in the market by answering the question “what makes your business different?”

Quickly get to the “ask” in your video. Be clear on what you will use the funds towards in your business if you’re selected as a winner. For example: with the $500, my business will be able to [enter a specific task, project, or need]. 

Review your pitch with someone. Book a mentor session, attend a Black Founders lunch, or talk to a friend/mentor and review your pitch with someone who can give you honest feedback.

Write out your pitch and practice as much as you need to in the mirror, to friends and family or with a teleprompter app before filming. Judges want to clearly hear and understand your pitch while seeing you exude confidence and authenticity.

Be aware of your environment. Be mindful of your background and the lighting in your video. Make sure there are no distractions or noises in the background that will take away from your pitch. 

Revisit START courses and Tribe Huddles to help you with your pitch.

Note: you must be logged in to your Tribe Network account to access START material.

🚀 START: Starting a Business – Learn essential business concepts and get practical tips like how and when to register your business. Receive insider tips on tools, methods and best practices to start a business.

🎯 START: Solving Customer Needs – Learn about the necessity of knowing your purpose in connecting with customers, and build your Lean Business Canvas (a one-page business plan).

🔥 START: Building Your MVP – Learn how to use the problem-hypothesis template and do customer discovery and validation.

🤝 START: Reaching Your Customers – Sharpen your social media marketing skills and learn how to tailor your marketing and branding efforts to reach your customers better. 

💸 START: Accessing Funding – Learn how to access the various forms of non-dilutive funding available to incorporated and unincorporated businesses at any stage. 

Tribe Network Huddle: Building Purpose-Driven Businesses – Find out why knowing your business purpose is so important, and learn how to implement your business purpose and values into your business structure and product/service.