Spring 2016 Pitch Competition

HCC IDEA Pitch Competition


The competition is closed for this semester. Click here to see the cash prize winners.

Quick Answers:

COMPETITION WILL CLOSE AT 11:59PM on April 8th 2016, please submit all ideas before the deadline.
- Extended deadline for students who took part in the Newspring Business Plan Competition this semester is April 15th 2016 (11:59PM)

Current IDEA Submissions:


The HCC IDEA Pitch Competition is a platform for any HCC student to share their creative ideas.

  • First Prize: $500
  • Second Prize: $250
  • Third Prize: $150
  • Honorable Mentions: $50

The competition is designed to explore innovative approaches to answering pressing societal needs and to foster an atmosphere of social dialogue. Students must complete a simple application and upload a two-three minute video on YouTube (include link on application) that addresses one of the categories listed below:


  1. Technology: a new application to help resolve a pressing issue
  2. Education: issues related to education and Houston Community College. For example, raise HCC scholarship funds; or raise graduation rates or addresses other areas related to education and HCC.
  3. Environment: local or global ways to make a difference… including our traffic!
  4. Health: solve a health issue or create a new approach to be healthier
  5. Social: issues related to children, the elderly, animal rights, etc.

HCC Pitch Competition opens February 1 and closes April 8, 2016

Competition Finalist Presentation and Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 (from 12PM to 2PM) at 3100 Main St. Houston Texas 77002

The goal of the HCC Pitch Competition is to provide financial and institutional support for HCC students who want to make an impact on the world. HCC is eager to harness the creativity and passion of its unique student body to catalyze social change.

There are two forms below; one (1st one) is to register for the competition and the other (second one) is to register for a training session.  Training sessions are not required, but recommended to take part in the competition and attending training sessions, does not require taking part in the competition.


Training Sessions

There are 8 training sessions scheduled to help you with idea generation and pitch presentation Trainings are not required to participate in the competition, however one idea generation and one pitch presentation training of each is encouraged.  Please register for sessions 24 hours prior to the training.

IDEA Generation Training – Speaker/Facilitator: Michael Slavin:

Michael Slavin is a compelling speaker, a very successful entrepreneur-Investor, and the founder and president of US Emerald Energy, an oil and gas exploration company. Michael has just published three best sellers: “One Million in the Bank: How to Make $1,000,000 with Your Own Business Even If You Have No Money or Experience”, “Veterans’ Guide to One Million in the Bank”, & “Women’s Guide to One Million in the Bank.”  

  • Session 1:  Thursday, February 18th, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at HCC West Loop Campus  in Room: C108A.
  • Session 2:  Friday, February 19th, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at HCC Alief Hayes Campus in Room: C101.
  • Session 3:  Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at HCC Central Campus in San Jacinto Building in Room 173.
  • Session 4:  Monday, March 21st, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at HCC Eastside Campus in Workforce Building in Room 319. 

Pitch Presentation Training Sessions – Facilitator: Ed Muth 

Ed Muth has been an active member of the Houston educational community for over 30 years.  Ed moved to Texas to work with HISD in 1978 and then moved on to HCC in 1991.  At HISD Ed taught Texas History, US History and World History and trained HISD teachers as Teacher Technologists to used computers in the classroom to enhance learning.  At HCC Central Mr. Muth teaches an array theatre classes and directs student productions at HCC’s Theatre One.  Additionally, Ed is a noteworthy director, designer, and actor working with Houston theatres such as: The Ensemble, Stages, Theatre Lab Houston, Main Street Theatre and Express Children’s Theatre.   He is a long time member and presenter with The Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and is a recipient of the Dr. Anthony Chee Award for Teaching Excellence.
  • Session 1: Thursday, February 25th, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at HCC West Loop Campus in Room: C108A.
  • Session 2: Friday, February 26th, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at HCC Alief Hayes Campus in Room C101.
  • Session 3: Monday, March 28th, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at HCC Eastside Campus in Workforce Building in Room 319. 
  • Session 4: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at HCC Central Campus in San Jacinto Building in Room 173.

Rules & Eligibility


  1. Must be in video format (no word docs, pictures, applications etc.) - you may use images and graphics in the video to explain your concepts.
  2. Must be appropriate for a professional setting (no nudity, swearing, derogatory notions etc.)
  3. Video submissions must be AT LEAST 30 seconds in length Video submissions can be AT MOST 3 minutes in length
  4. No copyrighted materials unless permission has been granted
  5. An Individual is only allowed to pitch up to three times Identical pitches may not be submitted in multiple categories
  6. If two people pitch an identical idea, they will both be judged objectively; however only one will be a finalist


Group Pitches

  1. Group pitches are allowed, but only one name is submitted with the pitch
  2. A group pitch only counts as one pitch
  3. A specific group can make as many pitches as their members times three
    a.  e.g. if 3 people pitched, those 3 people can pitch up to 9 times

*Failure to comply with these rules will result in disqualification of the pitch.


Pitch Competition Defined

A pitch competition is a powerful and disciplined format to present a new idea or a new approach. The Pitch provides a vehicle for describing in a clear and concise manner (2 to 3 minutes) a solution to one of the social issues in the categories listed.

The format of the video presentation is simple: the presenter has 2-3 minutes to tell a story about the idea to illustrate the opportunity for social entrepreneurism:

  • Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.
  • Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to move in different directions.
  • They are visionaries, but also realists, and are ultimately concerned with the practical implementation of their vision above all else.

Social entrepreneurs present user-friendly, understandable, and ethical ideas that engage widespread support in order to maximize the number of citizens that will stand up, seize their idea, and implement it. Leading social entrepreneurs are mass recruiters of local change makers— role models proving that citizens who channel their ideas into action can do almost anything.

Why 'Social' Entrepreneur?

Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss to improve systems, invent new approaches, and create solutions to change society for the better. While a business entrepreneur might create entirely new industries, a social entrepreneur develops innovative solutions to social problems and then implements them on a large scale.

 A social entrepreneur can also be defined as a person who uses business to solve social issues.


Historical Examples of Leading Social Entrepreneurs:

Susan B. Anthony (U.S.): Fought for Women's Rights in the United States, including the right to control property and helped spearhead adoption of the 19th amendment.

Vinoba Bhave (India): Founder and leader of the Land Gift Movement, he caused the redistribution of more than 7,000,000 acres of land to aid India's untouchables and landless.

Dr. Maria Montessori (Italy): Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.

Florence Nightingale (U.K.): Founder of modern nursing, she established the first school for nurses and fought to improve hospital conditions.

John Muir (U.S.): Naturalist and conservationist, he established the National Park System and helped found The Sierra Club.

Jean Monnet (France): Responsible for the reconstruction of the French economy following World War II, including the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The ECSC and the European Common Market were direct precursors of the European Union.

Other Social Entrepreneurs

Khan Academy: revolutionized education with simple instructional videos. Salman Khan developed short instructional videos to teach students in a simple way. They now offer 3,400 videos that reach 10 million students! It is “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.”

Jane Chen - Embrace: Jane Chen teamed up with grad students in computer science, electrical engineering and material science to develop a device that keeps low-birth-weight babies warm even when the electricity in hospitals and clinics fails. The "Thermpod" looks like a miniature sleeping bag and provides a lifesaving four to six hours of heat on a single 30-minute charge. Thermpod has saved the lives of hundreds of babies in China and India.

Scott Harrison is a former New York City nightclub promoter who was shocked at how much money his "beautiful people" friends were wasting on booze. So for his 31st birthday he asked them to skip the champagne and instead donate money for clean drinking water. In one night he raised $15,000, enough for three wells in Uganda. Five years later Harrison's charity: Water has provided drinking water to more than 2 million people through 4,282 projects in 19 countries. By January he will have raised $60 million: just a drop in the bucket compared with the $2.5 billion he hopes to raise by 2020.


Effective pitches

Making an effective pitch begins with having a strong grasp of its 5 major components. All components are needed; leaving a component out will create a gap in the story you are trying to tell. The five components simply answer the questions: what is the problem? What is the solution? Who will it help? What resources are needed? How can we sustain this initiative? This includes:

  1. The Opportunity and value proposition
  2. The target customer
  3. The business model
  4. The resource requirements
  5. The Call to Action

Check out the one button studio to professionally record your pitch: http://tech.nwc.hccs.edu/cic/obs

Whats the One Button Studio?
See the video below

Need help with video editing?
At HCC Hayes Campus (2811 Hayes Rd.) in the Room B.322 - Media Commons:

  • Monday to Friday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Friday, 1:00pm to 3:30pm

Please get in touch with jordan.carswell@hccs.edu or derrick.guillory@hccs.edu


Past Competition Winners:

The 2015 Elevator Pitch Competition winners:

  1. First Prize: $1,500 -- Chase Copeland
  2. Second Prize: $1,000 -- Jaron Moore
  3. Third Prize: $500 -- Alice Frempong

See their winning entries.

See Finalist entries


Sponsored by Office of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, 3100 Main, Houston 77002
for more information, call Ravi Brahmbhatt at 713-718-5269 or email: ravi.brahmbhatt@hccs.edu