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2021 NACCE Pitch for the Trades

Presented in Partnership with the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation

This year, NACCE and the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Center of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, are excited to announce $135,000 available for the Pitch for the Trades competition. Colleges are eligible to win up to $50,000 in this competition! This is your opportunity to shine and to help create a buzz on-campus and in your community.  Are you interested in earning funds to help launch your project related to the skilled trades? 

August 2, 2021  - September 8, 2021


Thursday, July 22, 2021: Ask Me Anything webinar. View recap and recording.

Monday, August 2, 2021: Application period opens.

Wednesday, September 8, 5:00 PM, PT: Application deadline. Applications submitted should include a 1-page detailed budget, college name and mailing address, lead contact, project title, 3-line project description, and the amount of funding needed to launch your project. To be eligible, your college must be a NACCE member and at least one-person from the pitch/project team must be registered to attend NACCE 2021, October 3-6, either in-person or virtually.

Thursday, September 9, 2021, 5:00 PM, ET: Semi-finalists announced. Semi-final teams will pitch virtually on September 15 before a judging panel that includes peer reviewers from previous Pitch for the Trades award recipients. Virtual meeting details will be sent to semi-finalists after announcement.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021: Semi-final virtual competition. Each team will have 2-minutes to pitch, and 3-minutes for Q & A. This is your team’s opportunity to expand your story and give details about the challenge your project is working to solve and its economic impact: How many students will be served? What are the anticipated numbers of jobs created? What type of employment is obtained? What is the income earned and is it a living-wage? How many businesses will be launched? Tell us why this project matters to your community. Remember, this is your time to use your public speaking, communications and entrepreneurial thinking skills to pitch your story.

Thursday, September 16, 2021, 5:00 PM, ET: Final team selection announced. Top 5-6 teams selected will advance to the final Pitch for the Trades competition. We are hopeful you are able to join us in-person in Minneapolis, however, if that is not an option, we will ensure you are able to pitch virtually.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021: The finalists’ 3-minute pitches will be streamed live to a panel of in-person judges and NACCE conference attendees on October 5 at the NACCE 19th Annual Conference (Minneapolis, MN and virtual). All finalists must be available for this live round that includes a 5 minute Q & A session and for the award announcements, which will take place in a subsequent main-stage session. Time of sessions TBA.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Confirm that your college is a NACCE member.
  • Confirm the project has the support of your community college president.
  • Confirm that at least one person on the pitch project is registered for the NACCE Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN, October 3 – 6, 2021, and is available to participate in the final round of the virtual pitch competition on Tuesday, October 5. Either in-person or virtual registration is acceptable.
  • Confirm that your college’s grants management and/or foundation departments are aware of the project and agree to a maximum of 10% or less administrative management fee.
  • Confirm that your pitch project has not previously been awarded NACCE-Ratcliffe Foundation funds.
  • Confirm this project is uniquely being pitched to the NACCE-Ratcliffe Foundation Pitch for the Trades and is not being pitched in other competitions.


For more information about NACCE's Pitch for the Trades, contact Project Manager, Theresa MacLennan