Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

  • Causeway Pitch
  • Melton Center Meeting
  • Causeway Pitch
  • Causeway Pitch
  • Melton Center Meeting
  • Melton Center Meeting

Coastal Venture Competition

Attention all students, the 2017 Coastal Venture Competition is a Go!  We will be giving away $12,000 in prizes, including a $4,000 cash prize to the winner! The Coastal Venture Competition is a New Venture Competition. That means that through participating in this competition you will be learning about starting a new business and doing some of the research required to start one. 

There will be three phases to this competition. 

▼   Entry/Round One

Students submit a 60 to 90 second video discussing their idea.

To enter the contest, send us a link to your video or just send the video itself to may submit videos any time up until March 30th, but the earlier you finish this step the longer you’ll have to complete the other parts of the competition.

Guidelines for Entry into Round One
  1. Business idea must be legal, moral, and ethical.
  2. Business idea must not represent the University of South Alabama in a negative light.
  3. Student video must be around one to two minutes in length and tell viewers:
    1. Who the student is
    2. What the idea is
    3. Who the customers are
    4. Why the customers might buy
  4. All students will sign a standard nondisclosure document to compete in the contest.
  5. Students may or may not give permission for their videos to be posted. This will have no effect on their eligibility to compete.

Upon being accepted into the event, students will be given guidance on how to compete in Round Two.

▼   Round Two

Students submit a 10 slide pitch deck & any supporting documentation they wish. Final day for submissions is April 5th.

Guidelines for Round Two
  1. As long as the student or his/her business idea doesn’t violate the standards for round one, the student is automatically passed into round two.
  2. The pitch decks that the students must submit for round two follow the following format (more details on this format can be found here):
    1. Title
    2. Problem/Opportunity
    3. Value Proposition
    4. Underlying Magic
    5. Business Model
    6. Go-To-Market Plan
    7. Competitive Analysis
    8. Management Team
    9. Financial Projections/Key Metrics
    10. Current Status, Accomplishments to date, Timeline, Use of Funds
  3. Students may (but are not required to) include any supporting materials they wish. Supporting materials should explain, clarify, and seek to convince readers of the material already in the slide deck. Typical supporting materials would be:
    1. Interview transcripts and summaries
    2. Survey results
    3. Demographic & psychographic customer data
    4. Prototypes
    5. Intellectual property
    6. Real estate information
    7. Detailed competitor information
    8. Team member resumes
▼   Round Three

Eight finalists are selected. Four are presented $500 for being finalists. Four others are asked to compete live. Students will present their pitch decks and be asked questions by judges and audience members. Students will be notified on April 6th. Presentations will be April 7th at 1:30 (Doors open at 1:00) in MCOB 265.

Guidelines for Round Three (The Bonus Round)

The top eight packages will be selected by the judging committee. The top four will be notified that they have been selected to give their presentations live. If one or more student teams decline an alternate will be selected from the second four and the declining team will be replaced. Judging criteria to get into the top eight will be:

  1. Likelihood of business success
  2. Professionalism of package
  3. Completeness of package
  4. Likelihood of launch
  5. Imminence of launch

Judging criteria for the live round will be all of the above and:

  1. Quality of presentation
  2. Ability to answer questions
  3. Only questions from judges will be taken into account (questions from the audience are for entertainment/training purposes only)

Support & Assistance

There are several sources of help available to students to help them transition from their video ‘pitch’ to having a complete presentation.

  1. There are workshops/bootcamps/question and answer sessions on the following dates and times.
    1. Competition Specific Office Hours - MCOB #116
      Date Time
      March 20​th 12-5
      March 21​st 3:30-5
      March 22​nd 10-5
      March 23​rd ​4-6
      March 24​th​ 10-5
      March 27​th 1-5
      March 28​th 4-5
      March 29​th 10-2
    2. Group Meetings
      Date Time Purpose Location
      March 21st 5-7 Q&A, assistance & practice Board Room MCOB 101
      March 22nd 5-7 Q&A, assistance & practice Board Room MCOB 101
      March 28th 5-7 Q&A, assistance & practice Board Room MCOB 101
      April 3rd 10-12 Presentation assistance Board Room MCOB 101
      April 3rd 5-7 Presentation assistance Board Room MCOB 101
      April 4th 4-6 Presentation assistance Board Room MCOB 101
      April 5th 10-12 Presentation assistance Board Room MCOB 101
      April 5th 3-5 Presentation assistance Board Room MCOB 101
  2. Dr. Nelson, Dr. Mosley, and Professor Edwards are available to answer your questions and consult with you as needed. Email us at
  3. The Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation board is available on a case by case basis. If you need help in a particular area contact one of the professors listed above you we will attempt to find the appropriate board member to help you with your business idea.
  4. There are many additional campus and community resources available. Please stop by Dr. Nelson’s office (MCOB116) if you need help locating someone or something to help.