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The Enterprise Center at Salem State University is launching its 2018 BUSINESS PLAN PROGRAM & COMPETITION.  This yearlong initiative, which begins in January 2018 and ends with the Competition Finale on December 4, 2018, has been improved to help businesses strengthen their planning and operations in advance of entering the Competition.

For the first time in the Competition’s 13-year history, businesses that want to enter the Competition will have an opportunity to PITCH their business idea before entering the formal Competition, if they choose to do so. The goal of a PITCH Panel Session is to help applicants improve their business idea, receive feedback from business professionals, and thereby strengthen their business.

In order to enter the PITCH Panel each business must meet the following criteria of the 2018 Business Plan Competition. The business must:


  1. Start-up businesses that are less than three years old (including those not yet operational) and early stage growth businesses may apply.
  2. Growth companies that are older than three years may apply IF they are developing growth through a new product, service line, expansion or implementation of a new strategic plan. Growth trajectory MUST be clear to be eligible.
  3. Applicants must be located in or must relocate to one of 30 cities and towns that make up the North Shore.*
  4. If the business plan is for a startup business, that business must commit to locating in one of 30 cities and towns that make up the North Shore.*
  5. Businesses must have plans to grow the equivalent of at least 5 full-time employees (FTEs) in addition to the founders or existing workforce within three years.
  6. Your business idea must be original work that you will be fully able to disclose.
  7. Any non-venture funded business is eligible.
  8. Businesses with existing professional venture investment are not eligible.
  9. Non-profit organizations are not eligible.

Amesbury * Beverly * Boxford * Danvers * Essex * Georgetown * Gloucester * Groveland * Hamilton* Ipswich* Lynn* Lynnfield* Manchester by the Sea* Marblehead * Middleton * Nahant * Newbury * Newburyport * Peabody * Revere * Rockport* Rowley * Salem * Salisbury * Saugus * Swampscott * Topsfield * Wenham * West Newbury * Winthrop

What is the PITCH Panel process?

All businesses interested in participating in a PITCH Panel Session, must do the following:

  1. Fill out the attached PITCH Panel Application Form and submit it, via email, to the Enterprise Center. PITCH Panel Session dates and deadlines are listed below and scheduling is based on a first come/first serve basis.
  2. Once the PITCH Panel Application is received, it will be reviewed and, if the business idea meets the eligibility criteria listed above, the business will be invited to “PITCH” their business idea to a panel of PITCH Panel Coaches.
  3. Each PITCH Panel Session will last 25 minutes. The business will have 10 to 12 minutes to PITCH the business idea, and the PITCH Panel Coaches will have the remaining time to provide feedback and comments.
  4. PITCH Panel Session participants must be prepared to cover the following topics in their PITCH:
  • What is the business idea? Product or Service.
  • Why is the business idea unique?
  • What market does this business serve/ plan to serve, and what is the demonstrated need for this product or service?
  • What obstacles is the business facing now and in the near future?


PITCH Panel Application Schedule and Dates

 Applicants must fill out the PITCH Panel Application Form and upon receipt and approval will be scheduled for one of the four (4) PITCH Panel Sessions listed below.  PITCH Panel Application Forms must be submitted a minimum of one week prior to the PITCH Panel Session dates scheduled below:

 January 2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018            PITCH PANEL Application due to the Enterprise Center

Thursday, January 25, 2018                PITCH PANEL, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

 March 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018              PITCH PANEL Application due to the Enterprise Center

Wednesday, March 21, 2018              PITCH PANEL, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

May 2018

Wednesday, May 9, 2018                   PITCH PANEL Application due to the Enterprise Center

Wednesday, May 16, 2018                 PITCH PANEL, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

 July 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018                  PITCH PANEL Application due to the Enterprise Center

Wednesday, July 18, 2018,                 PITCH PANEL, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Only email applications will be accepted.  Please complete this application, save it as a PDF document if possible  and email it to  You will receive an email confirmation of your application. If you have any questions, please contact: If you have any questions please contact:  Noreen Hazelton, Enterprise Center Assistant Director at 978-542-7576 or