Thanks to generous sponsors, Venture Connectors has increased the prize for our eighth annual Venture Sharks™ business competition to more than $37,000 in cash and services, topping last year’s prize of $23,000. In addition, a new Audience Participation Crowdfunding Campaign will award a separate prize to a company chosen by the audience via a text message vote during the Venture Sharks finals. You can donate online or in person at upcoming Venture Connectors events. Early-stage startups and entrepreneurs in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee are invited to submit applications before midnight on March 22. Donate here or apply here.

The 2017 in-kind prize package of $32,245 includes:

The 2017 cash prize of $5,000 includes the following sponsorships:

This year, we are pleased to invite our members, guests and others in the community to join in the fun through our first-ever Audience Participation Crowdfunding Campaign! All funds collected from now through the May 3 finals will be paid in full, minus fees, to the winner of the audience text vote held during the Venture Sharks finals event. The audience’s choice may be different than the winner named by the Sharks judges. The minimum suggested donation is $5. Venture Connectors is not recognized as a 501(c) organization, so donations are not tax-deductible. Click here to donate to the campaign.

Soon after applications close March 22, the Venture Sharks committee will select up to 10 companies to compete in the competition’s semifinals event on Wednesday, April 12, at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. Doors open at 5 p.m. and pitches begin at 5:30 p.m. The field will be narrowed to four finalists, who will then vie for more than $37,000 in cash and prizes at Venture Connectors’ regular monthly lunch on Wednesday, May 3, also at the Muhammad Ali Center. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the meeting runs from noon-1:15 p.m. During both events, entrepreneurs will present their business plans to a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal.

RSVPs to both the semifinals and finals are required. Click here to register. The preliminary event on April 12 is FREE and open to the public. The final round on May 3 is free to members and $40 for nonmembers. We hope to see you there!