Everything you need to know about the SSC

Who is eligible to apply for the Competition?

You must be a NJ resident or a graduate of The Community Business Academy who is 18 years or older. If you are a business owner, your business must have an annual revenue of $250,000 or less. The Start Something Challenge is a program of Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit organization that partners with global and local supporters to grow strong businesses for the benefit of families and communities.

When is the deadline for submission?

11:59 AM on Friday, June 30, 2017.

What are the prizes?

$30,000 in Cash and Prizes!

  • First place- $10,000
  • Second place- $7,500
  • Third place- $5,000

There is also a Community Choice prize of $1,000, and every non-placing finalist in the competition takes home an iPad. All prizes are presented, at the Start Something Champions Gala when all SSC finalists are honored. Gala details to follow.

Do I need video experience?

Absolutely not! All you need are original photos and ideas to create your free Animoto video.

What do I do after I submit my pitch?

What do I do after I submit my pitch? Start promoting your business or idea! Even if the competition hasn’t opened, it’s a good idea to set the groundwork – you’ll need supporters if you want to proceed in the competition! After June 12, you may begin promoting your video to gain views.

The top six entrants in each sector with the most views by noon on July 7 will move onto the second round. The top six entrants in each sector with the most views by noon on July 7 will move onto the second round.

Their videos will be placed on the Start Something Challenge website, for public voting between July 14 and July 21. The two videos with the most votes in each sector will move on to the Grand Finale where they will get to pitch their ideas before a panel of expert judges on August 1. The winners will be announced and celebrated at Rising Tide Capital’s Start Something Champions Gala in November.

Can I purchase Social Media Ads to promote my video?

No. Your video promotions must be completely organic. Rising Tide Capital provides free tutorials and workshops for all Challenge participants, to help you with tips and ideas for promoting your video. Any participants found to be cheating will immediately be disqualified from the competition.

Where can I learn more about starting or growing my business?

Rising Tide Capital offers a 12-week Community Business Academy in Essex and Hudson Counties, teaching entrepreneurs the nuts and bolts of starting a business. The class is tuition-free for anyone accepted through a competitive application process.


Where can I learn more about starting or growing my business?

Rising Tide Capital offers a 12-week Community Business Academy in Essex, Union and Hudson Counties, teaching entrepreneurs the nuts and bolts of starting a business. Thanks to generous sponsors, tuition for the class is underwritten for anyone accepted through a competitive application process.

What are these business sectors?

For The 2017 Start Something Challenge we are asking you to think about the value your business provides to the Community, and opt into one of 5 business sectors: 

  • Food
    Entrepreneurs that are delivering food services and experiences, creating innovative food products, or re-educating their communities on food through activism and tourism
    Community Kitchens, Food Products, Restaurants, Food Education 
  • Health
    Entrepreneurs striving to optimize physical and mental wellness by creating affordable and effective methods for prevention, diagnosis and therapy for individuals and communities
    Fitness, Holistic Living, Medical Support
  • Sustainability
    Entrepreneurs working to sustain human life on the planet with businesses that create safe, clean, green solutions that optimize the Earth’s ecosystems
    Energy solutions, Environmental education or activism, Water
  • Community
    Entrepreneurs creating structures and access to information and experiences that connect people-whether in virtual or physical communities
    Construction, Real Estate, Learning, Security, Technology
  • Expression
    Entrepreneurs generating outlets for creativitiy within their communities, inspiring other humans to give meaning and value to each other’s lives.
    Fashion, Beauty, Art, Entertainment

How much does it cost to enter?

Entry is FREE

Why enter?

Aside from the obvious $10,000 first prize–business pitch competitions are one way to cultivate new relationships, learn new skills and generate cash – three important components to help start or grow your business. By competing in the Start Something Challenge, your business idea will receive valuable feedback from experts and celebrity judges, significant web and media exposure, as well as up to $10,000 to grow your business idea.

How does it work?

  • Pick your sector.
  • Create a short description of your business idea, product or service (150 words max).
  • Fill out the Application Form by June 30th at noon. We’ll let you know when the form is live and you can fill it out even if you haven’t made your video yet.
  • Using Animoto, create a 30-second video to illustrate your business idea.
  • Submit your video (we’ll let you know where you can upload it) by June 30th at noon.
  • Between June 12 and July 7, promote your video to start building an audience to support your business.
  • After two rounds of online voting, ten finalists will be chosen to pitch their ideas live in front of a panel of experts and celebrity judges.
  • If you have questions, please email us at SSC@RisingTideCapital.org.

What are some of the key dates in the 2017 Start Something Challenge?

  • 4/5| SSC Marketing Bootcamp: DISCOVER YOUR STORY
  • 4/19 | SSC Marketing Bootcamp: CREATE YOUR STRATEGY
  • 5/3 | SSC Marketing Bootcamp: AMPLIFY YOUR IMPACT
  • 6/5 | Animoto Bootcamp: Video Marketing for your Small Business
  • 6/12 | How to Enter The Start Something Challenge:
  • 6/12 | Start Something Challenge Open for Entries
  • 6/30 | Start Something Challenge Submission Deadline
  • 7/7 | Start Something Challenge Online Viewing Ends
  • 7/11| Start Something Challenge Semi-Finalists Announced
  • 7/15 | START SOMETHING CHALLENGE: 10 Strategies to Win the SSC
  • 7/24 | Announcement of Finalists
  • 7/27 | START SOMETHING CHALLENGE GRAND Finalist Pitch Tutorial


For more details, click here!

Do I have to own a business?

No! Even if you are just in the ideation phase of starting a business, and want to use the competition to test your idea in the marketplace, we’re happy to have you.

What are the competition rules?

You can find the official rules here.


Contact us at SSC@RisingTideCapital.org or 201-432-4316 Ext 110