VanArsdale Business Pitch Competition

All students of SUNY Geneseo are eligible to participate in the annual Geneseo VanArsdale Business Pitch Competition. This event allows students on campus to pitch their new business ideas to a panel of expert entrepreneurial judges.

The VanArsdale Business Pitch Competition celebrates small businesses and social enterprises. Based on the number of entries, categories may include products, services, software, social, storefront, and family businesses.

The Pitch

Each student is given 8 minutes to pitch their business and is subject to a 6-minute Q&A period with our judges. The Judges will score the presentation and Q&A session based on criteria such as idea creativity, market opportunity, product differentiation, business model, financial feasibility, and business sustainability.

The Contest

The contest will be held on Wednesday, April 17th, at 6:00 pm in Doty 300 (The Tower Room). The competition is open to students and faculty to attend. There is limited seating. A second presentation area will be added if the contest is large enough. Participants will have a staging room (Doty 309) to set up and retreat after their time.

The Criteria

Judges will be given a rating system based on the criteria below. 

  • Creativity
  • Market opportunity
  • Product differentiation
  • Business model
  • Financial feasibility
  • Business sustainability
  • Completeness and attention to detail
  • Presentation quality

A rubric will provide criteria ratings for each category. If multiple judges are used, the lowest ordinal rank will be considered the winner, not the highest overall score. The highest score will win if there is a tie in the ordinal ranking (ex. 1.5). If there is a tie in the score, the judges will negotiate and decide the winner.

The Awards

Awards will be presented after the competition in the Tower Room. Awards will be based on the number of participants. The overall winner will receive the VanArsdale Prize and a cash award of $2,500. If there are enough participants, additional cash prizes may be awarded to category or criteria-based winners. Details of the awards will be determined and communicated before the contest.

The Entry

You may enter as an individual or as a team. If you are a team, you will need one person to represent the team. They will be the official channel for all communications to and from the contest.

Your business may be in plan or existing. If existing, your pitch should be something related to growing or expanding your business.

All entries are subject to review for eligibility. Considerations like legal, ethical, compliance, inclusiveness, and intellectual property violations will determine a submission's ability to participate. If the review committee finds your business idea violates these criteria, we will notify you and work with you to resolve the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved, your submission will be disqualified.

To register, please use the VanArsdale Business Pitch Competition registration form.

If you have any questions, please contact Prof. Rider at