THE CLIMB | Startup Pitch Competition 2024
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Have a brilliant business idea but aren't sure where to begin? THE CLIMB may be your next step toward entrepreneurial success — and a chance to win a $10,000 first prize!

THE CLIMB | Startup Pitch Competition has supported the growth of collegiate startups and the entrepreneurial community across the Front Range since 2001. Backed by CU Denver's Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship and infamous entrepreneur, Jake Jabs, THE CLIMB is an annual event series and pitch competition that helps students and future business owners transform concepts into viable companies through mentorship, education, financial support, and real-world industry exchanges. With more than 600 mentor hours shared and $1.2 million awarded to date, the competition continues to grow and shape student experiences, local businesses, and the Colorado entrepreneurial community.

If you are a participant of the TechUp Seminar Series and/or Access Mode, please start an application and select the "TechUp Grant" track on the first question of the application. For all other applicants: 

Team Eligibility Requirements:

  1. At least one member of the team has to be a student (currently enrolled) at a college or university within the state of Colorado.

  2. Total sales and revenues must be under $75,000. (An official company tax ID number is required to receive award money.) Please note that we cannot invest in ideas using cannabis or any other goods, services, or industries incompatible with the mission of CU Denver.

  3. The concept being submitted cannot have received any seed/angel/venture capital (VC) funding before the application deadline. 

  4. Teams selected as finalists are REQUIRED to have at least one team member present at THE CLIMB | Pitch Night on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

  5. Teams selected as finalists are REQUIRED to submit a full business plan.

  6. Winners must form an appropriate business entity if they have not done so previously. Proof of business entity must be shown to the Jake Jabs Center team in order to receive prize money. 

  7. If you/your team applied for THE CLIMB in a previous year, you/your team can compete under the same concept/business as long as you did not make the top finalists pitch round (and meet the above qualifications). Teams that did apply and were chosen as a finalist can compete again BUT must submit a new concept/business (and meet the above qualifications).

Application Requirements:

  1. A complete online application submitted through Reviewr.
  2. A 60-to-90-second pitch video on your business idea or existing startup.
  3. A 2-to-3-page executive summary, including a one-paragraph partner agreement.
  4. Applications close at midnight on April 7, 2024. Incomplete applications and applications sent after the deadline will be automatically disqualified.
  5. There is NO application fee!