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Note: the following rules just apply to our Nov. 7th Pitch Party.

UNC Affiliation

At least one founding member of each team must be a UNC student, both undergraduate or graduate, or alumnus within 1 year after graduation date to compete in the competition.

Alumni more than 1 year after graduation date, UNC Faculty, and UNC Staff are NOT ALLOWED to compete in the this year’s competition unless there is an eligible team member.  Please check out the following available resources:

The UNC-affiliated team member must be a founding member of the idea/venture with at least 25% ownership and cannot be a token team member added to gain eligibility for the competition. UNC students must be present and pitching at the competition to be eligible to win if the team has alumni, UNC Faculty, or UNC Staff.

Stage of Venture

This competition seeks to foster the development of ideas into viable ventures. In general, ventures which are already well-established are not eligible to compete although they are urged to consult with the Competition’s organizers to determine their participation rights. Generally, to be eligible, a venture:

  • Cannot have raised more than $25,000 in seed funding (generally meaning “equity financing” other than from founding members).
  • Cannot have more than $50,000 in annual, booked revenue.
  • Cannot have won more than $2,500 in previous Carolina Challenge competition(s).
  • Cannot have been operating for more than 12 months.
  • Exceptions may include:
    • A startup that is based on scientific research that has taken years to develop.
      Ideas that have been in existence for longer, but had a period of inactivity or are changing dramatically.
    • Ventures that have revenues but are changing business models.

If you have any questions about eligibility, please email before submitting your intent-to-compete.

Multiple Year Entries

In general, teams may re-enter the Carolina Challenge competition if they fall into one of several categories:

  • They have changed a fundamental aspect of their business model;
  • They have made significant progress on their product or service since competing last year (achieved concrete milestones that warrant a new entry);
  • They did not win more than $2,500 in prize money in the competition as a first-time entrant.

Entrepreneurship Faculty and Staff

No faculty or staff teaching or working in the field of entrepreneurship at UNC may compete in the Challenge. This includes but is not limited to: the Entrepreneurship Center, KickStart, Launching the Venture and the Shuford Program.

Team Composition

Each team must consist of at least one member who is affiliated with UNC (see above) and consist of no more than four team members at the Pitch Party. Team members may be added and subtracted until the submission of their application by October 23rd, 2019; however, one member must always be a member of the UNC-Chapel Hill community.  At least one team member, including a UNC founding team member, must be present. Teams may change teammates at their discretion from Pitch Party to the Makeathon, etc. For example, teams may pick up additional teammates as they progress to later rounds.


Tracks often include: Early Stage, Late Stage, or Social Venture. Teams may designate their preferred track, but organizers retain the right to place teams in the track deemed most appropriate for the event. A venture cannot be entered in more than one track.

Prize Money

Direct deposits or check will be available 6-8 weeks after the event to individuals designated by winning teams. Exact prize money values are determined on a year-to-year basis. The winners are expected, though not required, to use the money for their venture. Paperwork for prize money must be submitted within 30 days of the end of the competition or prize money will be forfeited.  Prize money distribution will be assumed to be split equally between all team members listed in any round unless a written, signed agreement is submitted indicating some other arrangement.

Dress Code

Teams are encouraged to dress respectfully and appropriately based on their ideas and how they feel they should be represented. This often means business casual, but may mean business formal if appropriate for your venture.

Publicity and Photo Release

All participants agree to allow the Carolina Challenge organizers the irrevocable right and permission to copyright and publish any photographs, audiotapes, and/or videotapes taken of the participants for use in any of its printed publications, audiovisual presentations, and/or online presentations related to its educational mission.

Intellectual Property Rights

The creators of the pitch materials and/or prototypes retain all rights to their work unless it was created using UNC materials or resources, in which case property rights must be worked out with the university. To learn more about these university-wide regulations, please refer to the following website.  The judges and audience present at various public events will not be required to sign non-disclosure agreements. The competition retains the right to record the events and use the records for educational or promotional purposes for future Challenge events.

Honor Code

It shall be the responsibility of each student to obey and support the enforcement of these rules. All team members must indicate they have read and accepted these rules through in their initial application.

Dispute Resolution

All decisions by judges and the Carolina Challenge are final. For complaints, questions, concerns or to report possible rules violations, contact the faculty advisor, Jim Kitchen. These rules may be revised at any time if the purpose of the revision is made in the interest of fairness for all competitors. Revisions will be communicated to all participants as quickly and fairly as possible.