Networking Invitations to Make Your Pitch Contest More Entrepreneurial

Posted By: Dr. Caron Sada NACCE Blog,

If you are planning the upcoming pitch contest on your campus, it is likely you are a leader of innovation and entrepreneurship, with others looking to you for examples of your entrepreneurial thinking and skills. As you continue to develop improved prototypes of your pitch contests, is your list of collaborators ready for expansion? 

Here are eight networking invitations that will help you leverage ecosystem resources for better results:    

  • Active Learning Role Models (faculty in the Occupational Programs, the Arts, Service Learning and Civic Engagement)
    1. Faculty, in any discipline, who are known for active learning strategies already believe in the power of experiential learning. They may be the early adopters who can forward the interdisciplinary movement of entrepreneurship on your campus.
  • Partnership Leaders (Fundraising and Workforce Development)
    1. People skilled at this work are aware of community member interests and are well positioned to facilitate impact investment models and other types of partnerships that can contribute to meaningful action within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Marketing
    1. The marketing team is looking for interesting, targeted content and can help you expand your reach with entrepreneurial messaging to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Recruiting, Advising and Student Life
    1. Because they have daily contact with students, team members in student services can share your entrepreneurship opportunities with current and prospective students – showing how twenty-first century learning opportunities (e.g. your pitch contest) can help set your college apart from other institutions.
  • Leadership
    1. Innovation and entrepreneurship fit well with the responsibilities of your campus leadership team. Involving them in your pitch contest can lead to expanded internal and external opportunities as they have a global perspective on the needs and opportunities of the campus and other connected systems.
  • Community Members
    1. Innovation and entrepreneurship are hot topics right now in the Zeitgeist. If you are taking action under these terms, as you are with your pitch contest, potential volunteers, donors, community partners, and institutional funding opportunities are plentiful. Community colleges are key players in the broader ecosystem, and when individuals see how entrepreneurship opportunities can transform student lives, you are likely to get a “yes” when you offer the opportunity to collaborate.
  • Students and Their Talent
    1. While we ask other organizations to create internships for our students, we sometimes miss easy opportunities to engage our students in institutional programming. Consider having a student videographer and photographer cover your event. What other student talent could have a place to shine as you work toward improved pitch contest prototypes?
  • Student, Employee, and Community Pitch Contest Audience Members
    1. Ideally, you’ll fill your largest venue every time you hold a pitch contest so that each event builds up more entrepreneurial excitement on and off your campus. If you are holding your first pitch contest, an easy way to increase the size of your audience is to hold the pitch contest during a high class volume time and have a few supportive faculty bring their classes – this can provide a minimal audience of 100 or more people, even in your first year. What a great opportunity to demonstrate and increase student engagement, employee engagement, and community engagement

As you continue to reach out to these potential collaborators and others, a key to success is recruiting based on their needs. While you know what would help you accomplish your goals and you actively pursue those avenues, your reputation as a resource and leader will only grow if you help other people accomplish their goals. So, recruit partners based on how you can help them – awakening intrinsic motivation is generous and honors those you work with better than trying to control factors of extrinsic motivation. 

Expanding your collaborations holds opportunity to share important tasks, improve what you accomplish, and enjoy the experience as you develop relationships with other dedicated student, employee and community partners. And, since entrepreneurs are known for recognizing resources that remain invisible to many, you will be demonstrating the entrepreneurial thinking and skills that can inspire others and lead to even more shared results for our students, colleagues and communities. 

Who will you reach out to next?


Dr. Caron Sada

Residential Faculty

Paradise Valley Community College