Southern California middle school, high school and college students will compete in Cal State Fullerton’s annual Titan Fast Pitch competition – in which participants are judged by business leaders on their 90-second entrepreneurial pitches – with competitor submissions due by Oct. 17 and the finals taking place virtually on Oct. 31 this year.
While the event will be virtual for the first time, it will remain true to the mission of challenging students to take the first step down the entrepreneurial path, while also providing scholarships of up to $1,500, for the top four finishers.
“Whether we know it or not, so much of our lives are built and enriched by entrepreneurs. Everything from the technology we use, the food we eat, the way we learn, and the nonprofits making real change were influenced by entrepreneurs,” says Travis Lindsay, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and manager of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Startup Incubator. “All the leaders of tomorrow will be entrepreneurs, and if we can get these middle school, high school, and university students thinking more like entrepreneurs, then we will have achieved our mission.”
A Virtual Fast Pitch Delivers Benefits to Today’s Students
Lindsay says that the virtual format of this year’s Titan Fast Pitch, while mandated due to the coronavirus pandemic, is good preparation for the next generation of entrepreneurs, who will likely operate in an increasingly virtual world.
“I believe that even after we get on the other side of the pandemic and can meet in person again there will be a higher percentage of meetings held remotely,” says Lindsay. “Having the ability to communicate ideas effectively online will be a crucial skill.”
Participants must submit 90-second videos of themselves pitching their business or nonprofit concept by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 17.
The 90-second format is strategic, as the minute-and-half is about the amount of time entrepreneurs have to convince potential investors or venture capitalists that their idea is promising enough to learn more.
“Whether you are meeting someone at an event, through a connection you have from your network or some other way, you won’t have an unlimited amount of time to get someone psyched up enough to want to work with or invest in your business. Convincing someone to join you is a process, and the 90-second pitch is the first step in that process,” says Lindsay. “Packing all that information into 90 seconds is not an easy task to accomplish effectively, but with some practice, great things can happen.”
To be effective, Lindsay says a fast pitch should focus on addressing a serious problem that people or companies face, a solution to address the problem and an explanation of the overall opportunity for the concept. And be passionate and prepared.
While the economy is still struggling, Lindsay believes it is always a good time for the nation’s youth to consider entrepreneurship as their future.
“To put it plainly, entrepreneurship is the practice of making stuff happen. It’s simple, really: If you want to be a leader, someone who starts a business or a nonprofit, someone people can rely on, someone who creates a better life for others, then you have to learn how to be an entrepreneur,” he says.
“As a student, this is the perfect time to learn how to be an entrepreneur, and competing in the Titan Fast Pitch can be the motivation you need to start your entrepreneurial journey.”
For More Information
Apply today for the Titan Fast Pitch, and read more about the rules and format for this year’s competition.
The CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, which presents this annual event, is committed to supporting Southern California’s entrepreneurial sector through undergraduate and graduate education programs, and access to mentoring and support every step of the way at the CSUF Startup Incubator.
Read more of our articles about entrepreneurship.