2021 Crab Pot

Pitch Competition

The Crab Pot Pitch Competition is Southern Maryland’s premier pitch competition for entrepreneurs with cutting edge and innovative companies. Entrepreneurs compete for cash startup funding.


Event Details

Southern Maryland – The Crab Pot Pitch Competition is Southern Maryland’s premier pitch competition for entrepreneurs with cutting edge, disruptive and innovative technologies. Made popular by television shows like ABC’s “Shark Tank,” pitch contests provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to present their ideas to a panel of judges or investors in front of an audience.

This event is hosted by Southern Maryland Innovates, an organization with the mission to grow and connect the innovation and technology entrepreneurship community in Southern Maryland. And to serve as the connective hub between various groups that represent a casual and high impact opportunity to meet people interested in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Southern Maryland.

This year, the 7th Annual Crab Pot Pitch Competition will expand to encompass 2 tracks, each with its own prizes: The Tech Venture Track and the Main Street Track. All finalists will pitch on the Finals Stage in October.

 DEADLINE TO SUBMIT – September 13th

Register to attend as a spectator here: crabpotcompetition.eventbrite.com

How to Enter: The Crab Pot Pitch Competition uses the Survey Monkey platform to manage applications. To enter, the designated team leader should complete the online enrollment form found on the “Register” tab. The application for the Tech Venture Track and the Main Street Track must be completed no later than Monday, August 30, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST.


Eligibility in brief: Southern Maryland innovation driven entrepreneurs and startups are welcome to apply. Any entrepreneur with a cutting edge and innovative business can register to compete! Pitches can be for new business ventures, products, or processes. Individuals can pitch ideas for brand new businesses. Existing enterprises can pitch ideas for new products. Ventures of any industry are welcome.

This track is for small businesses / ventures of any stage with revenue and/or initial customers but not focused on scale. Ventures that intend to remain local or that are not focused on scale are encouraged to compete in this track. Must be innovative.

* Please note: The Tech Venture and Main Street Tracks have the same   competition timeline and progression. However, the tracks are separate, and participants in these tracks will not compete against each other.

Tech Venture Track + Main Street Track

Crab Pot Accelerator – Part 1: Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

Crab Pot Accelerator – Part 2: Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Application deadline: Monday, September 13th, 2021

**Finalist Coaching Session: Thursday, October 14th, 2021

All Tracks – Crab Pot Pitch Competition Finals: October 28th, 2021


The Tech Venture Track

Who: Anyone with a cutting edge, disruptive and innovative technology can register to compete! Pitches can be for new business ventures, products, or processes. Individuals can pitch ideas for brand new businesses. Existing enterprises can pitch ideas for new products. Ventures with high potential for scalability.

Grand Prize: $5,000
Second Place Prize: $2,000


Main Street Track

Who:  This track is for small businesses / ventures of any stage with revenue and/or initial customers but not focused on scale. Ventures that intend to remain local or that are not focused on scale are encouraged to compete in this track. Must be innovative. 

Grand Prize: $3,000
Second Place Prize: $1,000

General Notices

Entry Fees: The Competition does not have an entry fee.
Changes to Competition Rules: While not anticipated, these rules and prizes are subject to change at the discretion of the Southern Maryland Innovates team at any time. The team has the right to interpret these rules according to its own judgment.

Eligibility & Requirements

Who’s eligible to submit an application?
The competition is for all innovation driven Southern Maryland Entrepreneurs and Start Ups. Ventures of any industry are welcome. Must be based in St. Mary’s, Charles, or Calvert County.

Can I compete again if I applied to a previous Crab Pot Pitch Competition?
Entrepreneurs who have competed previously and who were not selected as a winner are highly encouraged to reapply. 

What if I was a Finalist last year?
Finalists from previous Crab Pot Competitions are eligible to compete in future competition

What kind of ventures are eligible to compete?
The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, startup, or early growth stages. Ventures can be in any industry and must have a revenue-generating model.

Both for-profits and nonprofits are allowed to apply, as long as 50% or more of the venture’s revenue is gained from earned revenue.

Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged, assuming the technologies have not been commercialized previously. Generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, license agreements to expand current distribution, and spin-outs from existing corporations.

What are the attendance requirements?
To be considered for any award, all pitching (presenting) team members must arrive at Crab Pot Pitch Competition Finals at the scheduled arrival time. You must also attend all coaching sessions as specified in the timeline.

What do I need in order to complete my application?
Each team will be required to provide appropriate documentation to receive award payments, which include W-9 and/or EIN forms. No prizes will be awarded without the required forms submitted.

What is required in the application?

You must complete an application for your team to be considered for the Crab Pot Pitch Competition. The application consists of a series of questions about you and your business as well as a pitch deck.

If selected for the Crab Pot Pitch Competition, your pitch should be a five-minute presentation providing a brief overview of your business idea. It is meant to help you—as an entrepreneur— to practice and hone your ability to verbalize and sell the idea to early stage investors such as friends and family, angel investors and venture capital firms. The key is to share your passion and enthusiasm for your idea. Your pitch deck should be short (no more than 5-7 slides) and to the point. Some topics to consider including in your pitch deck are:

  1. What problem are you trying to solve?
  2. How big is your problem? Talk about addressable market size.
  3. What is your solution to the problem? What is the value proposition for the customer?
  4. Who are your competitors and why is your solution better?
  5. How will you make money? What are your revenue stream(s)? Marketing and distribution strategy?
  6. Management team—who? What backgrounds and experiences do they bring?
  7. Current traction–do you have existing revenue? Plan moving forward—how will you use the prize money to grow your business and what are your targets for the next six months?


How will my application be evaluated?
The competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start- up funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges function as early stage venture capital investors deciding on which business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the size of the market, the competitive differentiation, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation, all influence the judges’ decisions.

Decisions regarding the Competition and the Winners: All decisions regarding the competition rules, procedures, and processes are at the sole discretion of Southern Maryland Innovates. Changes and/or interpretations of these rules may be made by Southern Maryland Innovates at any time, even though they may be (or may appear to be) in conflict with some previously published information. The selection of the teams to compete and the decision of the winners are at the sole discretion of the judges and Southern Maryland Innovates. Best efforts will be made to make decisions in accordance with this Official Rules document.


Use of Competition Materials: Southern Maryland Innovates reserves the right to  use any material prepared for the Crab Pot Competition in publicizing and promoting the event. Southern Maryland Innovates may use these materials for promotional purposes.


Non-confidentiality: All sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that could possibly enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged, or presented in these sessions.


Non-Disclosure Statements: Due to the nature of the competition, we are not able to ask judges, reviewers, staff, or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements.

However, Southern Maryland Innovates as the organizer of the Crab Pot Pitch Competition, will make every effort to limit distribution of business plans presented at the competition. Southern Maryland Innovates cannot guarantee that other individuals will not obtain access  to electronic or hard copies of the business plan. All presentations are open to the general public, and some presentations may be videotaped.


Copyrights & Permissions: If a team uses copyrighted materials and/or images from a third- party in their submissions or presentations, they must obtain permission and authorization in advance from the owners to use this material.


Participant Responsibility for Information: Information presented by the competitor(s) at the Crab Pot Pitch Competition is the sole responsibility of the competitor(s). The Southern Maryland Innovates team has not taken, and does not intend to take, any steps to verify the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, materials or statements presented by the competitor(s). The competitor(s), and not Southern Maryland Innovates, is responsible for ensuring the competitor(s) compliance with all applicable federal, state and other securities laws, and it is solely the competitor(s) responsibility to comply with any of such laws that are applicable.

This Year’s Crab Pot Judges

Allyson Redpath Maryland Department of Commerce Director, Entrepreneurship
Anne Balduzzi TEDCO Managing Director, Entrepreneur & Ecosystem Empowerment (E3)
Brian Jordan
Jordan Research and Development CEO; Former Crab Pot Winner
Eugene Allen
PNC Bank VP, Business Banking & Supplier Diversity In-Market Chair
Erin Hein KAIROS, Inc. Director of Engineering


Judging Criteria

Score Range 1- 10

1= Do not Agree

10= Strongly Agree

Company address a clear problem or opportunity. 10
Revenue model is clearly articulated and meets customers’ needs. 10
Company clearly articulates a solution to a unique value proposition. In other words, how clearly do you understand the product or service this team has developed and ho it solves a problem or provides a benefit to a customer? 10
Company demonstrates a sustainable competitive advantage. 10
Company has validated its market through clear progress in terms of product, customers, or revenue. 10
Company has a clear plan or high potential to scale. 10
Existing or planned team can credibly implement the business plan. 10
Company has clearly defined targets for growth and a practical plan for how to reach them. 10
Potential for regional business growth. 20
TOTAL 100 points

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