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CTNext Seeking Pitches for Entrepreneur Innovation Awards

  • Competition normally held three times a year in various locations goes online due to COVID-19
  • Connecticut startups have until Jan. 14 to apply for $10,000 grants
  • Entrepreneurs must have a “clear deliverable milestone” to qualify

A pitch competition offering $10,000 grants to innovative Connecticut startups is moving online, and entrepreneurs have just over a week to submit their applications.

The CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Awards are issued to promising and technologically innovative early-stage startups to assist with their next stage of growth. In addition to the $10,000 grants, companies can win Judges’ Favorite and Crowd Favorite prizes of $2,000 each.

Applications must be submitted by Jan. 14. Ten finalists will be invited to make a pitch before a panel of entrepreneurs, innovators, and business experts. These presentations will be completed on Feb. 17 and made public the next day.

While CTNext traditionally holds three events for the awards each year, the process has moved online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pitches will be made via Microsoft Teams.

Startups must have a “clear deliverable milestone” to be eligible. Several milestones qualify, including market research, small scale prototypes, compliance testing, licensing, and the development of products and services. CTNext says several other costs are ineligible, such as routine business expenses, marketing, professional services, and travel and hospitality.

Entrepreneurs must submit an application, a PowerPoint presentation on their project and proposed budget, and letters of good standing from Department of Labor, Secretary of State, and Department of Revenue Services. They are also invited to take the optional steps of including a five-minute video pitch and registering as a CTNext member.

Individual grants are capped at $10,000, but companies are eligible to receive multiple grants through the program up to $30,000. Recipients must stay in communication with CTNext to give updates on their project, make them aware of any significant changes, and let the organization know if they are terminating a project.

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