April 30 – May 1, 2019 | McKimmon Conference & Training Center | NC State University | Raleigh, NC
Stay Connected: #NCenergy2019

2019 Energy Innovation Student Pitch Competition

Instructions & Guidelines for Student Competitors

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is hosting the Energy Innovation Student Pitch Competition on Monday, April 29th. The competition is open to all college and university students at North Carolina-based institutions.

Students may submit ideas, business proposals, technology solutions within one of three categories:

  • Energy Innovation – Best new energy product or business model
  • Energy Poverty – Best plan or product to address energy poverty or inequality
  • Next Gen Energy Challenges – Most promising next gen research ideas

Entry Requirements

  • Concepts submitted may be an idea, innovative product, service, technology or business model.
  • All applicants must participate as a team that includes two or more students.
  • Multidisciplinary team submissions are encouraged, but not required.
  • Materials submitted must represent the original work of the participating team members. Mentors and advisors should not provide direct content for these materials. (Including, but not limited to writing the executive summary, producing the pitch video, writing portions of business plans, etc.)

How to Enter


The first round of competition consists on three deliverables:

  1. Contact information for all team members
  2. A one-page executive summary with key information about your venture (see outline below)
  3. An initial 60-second video pitch

Round 1 Applications are due by midnight on Friday, March 15.
Semifinalists will be notified via email by Friday, March 29.


Semifinalists will be asked to prepare and submit a maximum five page business plan based on the template to be provided below.

The top two teams each category will be invited to advance to the Finals. Finalists will present at the pitch competition dinner.

Round 2 Materials are due by midnight on Friday, April 12.
Finalists will be notified via email by Friday, April 19.


Monday, April 29 - First Annual Energy Innovation Student Pitch Competition Dinner

Teams, by invitation only, will provide a 10 minute in-person pitch before judges and audience at a pre-conference dinner on April 29. Grand prize winners and runners up will be selected in each category.

All finalists are invited to attend the full 2019 State Energy Conference on April 30 and May 1. Finalists must also submit an updated, finalized 60-second project pitch video. Video pitches will be presented throughout the State Energy Conference.

Judging Process & Criteria

How will competition work?

  • In the first round: The score for each entry will be a cumulative, combined score for the 60 second video and executive summary. A total of three entries in each category will be selected to second round.
  • In the second round: The score for each entry will be based on judges’ evaluations of the five page business plan. Two entries will be selected from each category. Finalists will be invited to present at pitch competition dinner.
  • In the final round: The top two entries in each category will present a 10-minute pitch presentation at a dinner event on Monday, April 29. The winner for each category will be determined by the cumulative judges’ score. Each team will receive a monetary award.

Judging Criteria OVERALL

  • Creativity: Originality of the idea.
  • Potential: Viability, longevity, actualization and/or profitability of the idea.
  • Functionality: Usability or accessibility of the venture / idea to the intended audience.
  • Team/People: Who is your team and how will they make your company a success.

Judging Criteria for ROUND 1

  • Executive Summary: Clarity & Completeness (responsiveness to questions outlined)
  • Video Pitch: Is the video visually appealing? Is the venture clearly explained?


Applications must be be submitted online. The Round 1 submission includes:
(a) contact information & summary, (b) One-page Executive Summary, (c) 60 second video pitch

Application Form / Cover Page

You will submit the following information via Google Form. Your one-page Executive Summary will be attached to your submission as a PDF document.

  1. Team Participant(s)
    • Contact Information: Include name, phone, email for all team members
    • Student Information: Include affiliated university or college, major / concentration, student classification (i.e. undergraduate year or graduate student)
  2. Name of Business, Venture, or Team
  3. Short Description (1500 words or less)

Executive Summary

You will submit a one-page (single-spaced, 12 point font) Executive Summary. Please address the following questions. The Executive Summary should be saved as a PDF and submitted via online form.

  1. Overview of Venture
    • What problem is your venture trying to solve? Describe the opportunity to be seized or problem that needs to be solved.
    • What is your new business idea, innovative product, business model or service?
    • What differentiates your product, service, or solution?
  2. Market Opportunities
    • What market do you intend to serve?
    • What people or organizations will be targeted as customers / users?
    • How can you serve the market better than your competition?
    • What are your plans to proceed with the concept?
  3. Mission Statement (Why are we in this business in the first place?)

60-Second Video

A link to the video must be available for judges. Please upload video to You Tube, Vimeo, or Google Drive and apply appropriate sharing approvals to view. Include this link in the application.

ROUND 2: Business Plan—Template

You will submit a five-page (single-spaced, 12 point font) Business Plan. Please answer the following questions for your submission

  1. Team
    • Provide applicable information about your team.
    • What background makes this team best suited to tackle this problem? Does your team have any other relevant startup experience?
    • List all team members and their roles.
    • Do you have any mentors or advisors currently assisting with your venture? In what areas are you currently receiving mentorship or advice?
  2. Problem
    • What problem is your venture trying to solve?
    • Include the following: who is affected, size of the problem and current ways the problem is being addressed.
  3. Solution
    • How is your venture solving this problem?
    • What is unique to your venture that allows you to solve this problem?
  4. Intellectual Property
    • Does your venture have any intellectual property? Is that IP protected?
    • Do you currently have any legal protections in place (trademark, patent, license)?
  5. Market
    • What is your venture's market? How big is it? Is the market growing?
    • Who is your venture’s competition (indirect or direct)?
    • What is your competitive advantage?
  6. Customer
    • Who is your target customer or user?
    • What customer discovery have you conducted?
    • How many potential customers / users have you interviewed or surveyed?
    • Did you learn anything new through your customer / user discovery process?
  7. Financial
    • What is the venture’s revenue model?
    • How do you plan to sustain and grow your venture?
    • How much startup capital does your venture currently have? What are your funding sources? Include all funding sources and amounts.

Summary of Deadlines

Friday, March 15: Round One Application due - Executive Summary and 60-second video
Friday, March 29: Notification to semifinalists
Friday, April 12: Round Two Business Plan due
Friday, April 19: Notification to finalists - invited to present at Pitch Competition Dinner
Monday, April 29: First Annual Energy Innovation Student Pitch Competition Dinner
April 30 – May 1: State Energy Conference