The Dealership's

Small Business Pitch Competition

Sponsored By The Arminius Foundation and Citizens Bank

Arminius logo.png

The Dealership is excited to announce the 2020 Small Business Pitch Competition! The competition is sponsored by The Arminius Foundation and Citizens Bank and is supported by the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) and Shaker Heights Development Corporation (SHDC). The goal of this competition is to strengthen the economic growth on Lee Rd. by supporting new businesses, small businesses, and home-based businesses located within Cuyahoga County. The winning pitch will receive $10,000. Participants will present to a panel of judges​ who have considerable experience assisting small businesses that are ready to move to the next level​. The competition also offers great networking and resource opportunities. The timeline, competition rules, and eligibility requirements are detailed below.


  Step 1: Apply on-line

  Step 2: Expert review and finalist selection

  Step 3: Live pitch finale on May 21

Important Dates

  Application Deadline: April 3, 2020

  Finalists Announced: April 17, 2020

  Workshop #1: April 30, 2020

  Workshop #2: May 7, 2020

  Live Pitch Finale: May 21, 2020

Rules & Eligibility  

  • Winning business must be willing to locate in an office or storefront in an available location on Lee Road between Chagrin Boulevard and Scottsdale Boulevard

  • Business must have less than 5 years of operating experience 

  • Must have a plan to grow the business the equivalent of at least 3 employees in addition to the founder(s) within 3 years

  • Must not have raised over $25,000 in combined funding sources at the time of the application

  • Participants can not be employed by any sponsor or partner (Citizen Bank, ECDI, SHCD, City of  Shaker Heights, The Dealership) 

  • Non-profit organizations are not eligible


Prizes must be accepted as awarded. Prizes may not be sold or transferred.

  First place winner will receive: 

    $10,000 Cash prize

  Second place winner will receive: 

    $5,000 Cash prize

  Audience Choice winner will receive:

    1 year coworking membership at The Dealership ($1,500 value) 


Presentation Format 

  Each participant will be allowed 5 minutes to present their idea

  Each participant will have 5 minutes for judges Q&A

  All participants must attend both scheduled prep workshops

  Participants are allowed to bring products or samples

  Participants are allowed to bring promotional/printed materials

  Participants must be 18 years of age 

Judging Criteria

Pitches will be judged on the following categories:

    Business vision
    Problem your business solves
    Market opportunity
    Business progress to date
    Use of funding

For any additional information please contact Micki Hejduk: or 216-455-5499