stuffed animalsPitching your business can be nerve-racking. You need to explain your business, its goals, how your are going to reach those goals, what it will cost, etc. etc. All while facing a huge fear that many of us have; public speaking. If there is anything I remember from my high school public speaking class it is to stop fidgeting my hands and saying “um”, but more importantly and to the point, I remember how my teacher stressed the importance of practicing. However, public speaking is challenging to practice mainly because you can’t practically create an audience to practice in front of, unless of course you count the couch full of stuffed animals you arranged to listen to you. Unfortunately, unless your name is Calvin, your stuffed animals are not sentient and have no idea what you’re talking about so being able to pitch your business in front of actual people is (usually) preferable. This is especially true when doing so can win your business some cash and recognition. On January 30th, as a breakout session of ACE14, you can sign up to pitch your business in front of judges and an audience for the chance to win some recognition, a small cash prize, and gain some valuable experience.

Be sure to read the details and register by December 31st if you want to be considered for the event. Only four entrepreneurs will be selected for the event and of those four, one will be selected by the judges as the winner of the event. In addition, the audience will also pick a winner. The pot of cash, which starts at $100 and increases based on donations and audience attendance, is awarded to the judge selected winner while the audience selected winner gets to justify to themselves that the public opinion is far more valuable than a cash prize because it totally is, right? Regardless of how you place in the competition, this is a great opportunity for you to practice your elevator pitch. Four minutes go by quickly when that is all you’re working with to sell your business idea so practice your timing to prepare for the event! Maybe those stuffed animals are not too bad of an audience to practice in front of after all. Just don’t leave it up to them to operate the stopwatch. Stuffed animals don’t have opposable thumbs and they certainly could not tell time anyways.