Whitman announces Orange Tank pitch competition on October 22. Application deadline is October 2.

student team with a prize check
Orange Tank 2019 winner, CLLCTVE, which incubated in the LaunchPad while working with the Whitman EEE program. Founder Kelsey Davis ’19 ‘G20 is a grad of the M.S. EEE program. CLLCTVE is now in the Techstars Los Angeles accelerator program.

The Martin J. Whitman School of Management’s sixth annual Orange Tank business pitch competition will be held virtually on October 22, 2020, at 6 p.m. Thanks to the generosity of Whitman Advisory Council member and lifetime SU Trustee John Couri ’63 (A&S), current students and alumni entrepreneurs from the Whitman School can apply for a chance to pitch their business venture to a panel of accomplished judges and vie for part of the $40,000 in cash prizes. A grand prize of $25,000 will be awarded to the competition’s top finisher. Monetary awards will be given to the ventures finishing in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in both the student and alumni category.  Apply here.

Five alumni and five student ventures will be selected from the applicants to pitch at the competition. Candidates must apply online by Friday, October 2 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Those selected to pitch will be notified by Friday, October 9.

Following are non-negotiable eligibility requirements for participation in the 2020 Orange Tank competition:

  • Student teams must have at least one Whitman School of Management student (i.e. major) on the founding team, not just as an employee, of the new venture. To be determined as a student, the individual must be a full- or part-time matriculated undergraduate or graduate student currently pursuing a degree program at the Whitman School of Management. Online Master’s students are eligible.
  • Alumni teams must have at least one Whitman School of Management alumnus (i.e. major) on the founding team, not just as an employee, of the new venture.
  • Founding team membership is determined based on timing of membership in the new venture, title in the organization, and significance of ownership stake.
  • Ideas submitted as part of a team’s new business venture must represent the original work of the team members.
  • Participants cannot previously have won the Panasci Business Plan competition grand prize or placed in the top 3 of a previous Orange Tank competition (as a student or alumnus).
  • If the new venture has already received funding from any outside sources (angel investors, other competitions, etc.), amounts, investors, and dates of funding must be disclosed in the initial entry – funding must not exceed $100,000.
  • The Orange Tank competition is primarily for early-stage ventures. Accordingly, the new venture should not have earned in excess of $100,000 in revenues by the time of entry submission.

In order to receive funding, participants must legally form their business entity (e.g. a corporation or LLC). Prize money is granted only to the business entity that the winning team forms.
A project budget will need to be submitted to receive funding.

Applicants will be notified of their selection status on or before Friday, October 9, and full details will be provided regarding the competition format and logistics. Those chosen will have six minutes to pitch, followed by five minutes of Q&A from the judges, who will be looking for:

  • Market potential
  • Differentiation and economic feasibility
  • Ability to protect intellectual property, technology
  • Sound execution strategy
  • Scalability of the business
  • Proposed use of finances
  • Expertise and abilities of the founder(s)
  • Quality of pitch

Event organizers welcome the Whitman community to view Orange Tank virtually this year. For questions about the event, please contact John Torrens, Whitman’s deputy chair of entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises and professor of entrepreneurial practice, at jtorrens@syr.edu with questions.

Previous Orange Tank judges