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The Startup Competition is back! Enter by April 20th.

The Greater Richmond Chamber announces its 4th Annual i.e.* Startup Competition, a pitch contest that awards seed money and in-kind resources to the region’s creative thinkers and doers. Intended to last only three years, the Competition returns for a fourth year based on overwhelming feedback and support from the region’s venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.

Enter the 2015 Competition here.

“We heard the entrepreneurial ecosystem loud and clear and are pleased to once again provide this valuable resource for our local entrepreneurs. We are always so blown away by the creative ideas that bubble up through this competition, and we can’t wait to see this year’s contestant pool,” said Chrystal Neal, vice president of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurism at the Greater Richmond Chamber and executive director of the Greater Richmond Small Business Center.”Lighthouse Labs is linking arms with the other early-stage startup supporters to help make the i.e.* competition happen this year,” said Graham Henshaw, co-executive director of Lighthouse Labs and engagement director at New Richmond Ventures.

In addition to Lighthouse Labs and New Richmond Ventures, competition supporters include The Community Foundation. HOT Technologies, Enlightened Capital Management, Capital One, First Capital Bank, MWV and Altria.

New this year is an additional $10,000 cash prize to the Best Social Innovation Startup, which includes B corporations. This prize joins the $10,000 for the Region’s Next Best Startup, as well as a $2,500 cash prize to a People’s Choice Winner, for a total of $22,500 in cash prizes awarded in one night. Winners also will receive in-kind services from local entrepreneurs, including office space, IT support and implementation, and mentoring services.

The i.e.* Startup Competition and its free educational events are designed to assist local entrepreneurs in transforming creative ideas into business realities. Through its i.e.* initiative, the Chamber has identified hundreds of entrepreneurs and thousands of supporters in the Richmond Region, inspired similar pitch contests, and put Central Virginia on the map as a place where creativity and innovation are nurtured and supported. The program has to date awarded $35,000 in seed money, more than $20,000 in resources, and unparalleled, no-cost access to professional advice.

Entrants must be based in the Richmond Region and either have a viable startup concept or already have launched a startup within the last year. Contestants can enter the competition by submitting a summary of their business idea and a logo at by April 20, 2015.

In 2014, the top prize went to Tenant Turner, which developed technology to assist rental property owners and managers find better tenants faster through an improved tenant acquisition, screening and management process.

The 2014 People’s Choice Award went to CUSH for developing a wheelchair cushion using pressure alleviating technology to distribute weight and help prevent pressure ulcers.

More than 600 people attended the live competition in April 2014 at Richmond CenterStage.

During the weeks leading up to the Competition entry deadline, the Chamber will be offering an educational event similar to its Entrepreneurial Trilogy offerings in the past, that provides support and guidance around important elements like intellectual property, financing, marketing, web design and more. Stay tuned for detail on this “Trilogy in a Day” concept.

Key Dates

The 2015 i.e.* Startup Competition schedule is as follows:

Applications accepted through April 20, 2015. Enter here.

Online pubic voting occurs April 21 – 23, 2015.

Finalists are announced on April 24, 2015.

The live competition is May 12, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. at Richmond CenterStage.


Special thanks to RVA’s early investor community, including Enlightened Capital Management, HOT Technologies, Lighthouse Labs and New Richmond Ventures.

The 2015 Competition also is made possible by:

The Community Foundation
Capital One
First Capital Bank

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