Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship

Transforming IT ideas into ventures

Notice. As of August 2019, the Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship has merged with the Mason Innovation Exchange (MIX), and LITE's flagsgip program, the Pitch IT competition, has become the Patriot Pitch competion. As a result, this website is no longer maintained. For more information about current programs, visit the MIX's website.

Laboratory for I.T. Entrepreneurship
Ngyuen Engineering Building

Register now!Pitch IT 2018


Pitch IT 2018 is the fifth edition of LITE’s business idea competition. The competition is open to all teams with at least one Mason student. Teams will compete for grants totaling $2,000. Students will present their business ideas to a panel of judges including faculty, entrepreneurs, and other business experts. Participants will have the opportunity to secure funding, receive valuable feedback, and enhance their ability to present and market their ideas to early stage investors.

The fifth Pitch IT competition will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2018, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the MIX@Fenwick, on the Fairfax Campus of George Mason University. Please read carefully the Preparing your Pitch and Admission Requirements sections of this page to find out how to participate to the competition.

Registration is required to participate. Please complete a return the registration form no later than 11:59 pm EDT on April 1, 2018. Early submissions are highly encouraged.

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Prize Breakdown

Teams will compete for grants totaling $2,000. A panel of judges composed by faculty, entrepreneurs, and other business experts will assign the first three prizes. Additionally, an audience award will be assigned based on votes by people in the audience (see the FAQ section below for details about how the audience will assign the award).

  • First Place:
  • Second Place:
  • Third Place:
  • Audience Award:

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Preparing your Pitch

The key to a successful pitch is to show all your passion for your idea and your determination in pursuing it. Practicing your presentation several times will enhance your chances of success. The pitch should be a five-minute presentation providing a brief overview of your business idea and highlighting why it could be a successful idea.

Points that should be addressed in the presentation are:

    1. Problem you are trying to solve
    2. Your solution to the problem and the value proposition for the customer
    3. Potential market size
    4. Existing competitors and what your competitive advantage will be
    5. How your business will make money: what are your revenue stream(s), marketing and distribution strategy
    6. Management team: what experiences and skills do you have available?
    7. Use of grant money: how do you plan to use the grant money, should you win the competition?

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Admission Requirements

Pitch IT Advising Sessions (Highly Recommended)

All students interested in participating to the Pitch IT Competition are highly encouraged to attend Pitch IT Advising Sessions to discuss their business idea in advance with the LITE team. The goal of the Advising Sessions is to help students develop their pitch by ensuring the feasibility of their business idea and maximize their chance of successfully competing and implementing their idea. During Pitch IT Advising sessions, students will meet with members of the LITE team to discuss their business idea, ask questions, practice presenting their idea, receive feedback, and show progress. Students are highly encouraged to attend at least two Pitch IT Advising Sessions. During the first session, students will discuss their business idea with the LITE team and receive feedback on its feasibility and how to implement it. During the second session, student will show the progress made on their initial idea, present their Pitch, and receive additional feedback from the team.

Pitch IT Advising sessions are open to all Mason students and can be scheduled by contacting the LITE team at: . Each session will last approximately 15 minutes. Students must preregister for an advising session.

Pitch IT Pre-screening Sessions (Required)

After completing the registration process, students must participate in a pre-screening session. During this session, students must pitch their idea with a 5-minute presentation. In order to be admitted to the competition, the idea must be related to Information Technology, the presentation needs to address the points mentioned above (see Preparing your Pitch) and at least one member of the team needs to be a current Mason student.

Admitted students/teams will be notified via email, and will be assigned a presentation slot in the competition. While we will provide comments on how to improve your presentation during the pre-screening session, this will not be the main focus of the pre-screening. Student should use the advising sessions for developing and refining their presentations. The pre-screening session will be held in late March 2018, and the exact date will be announced on this page and through the weekly newsletter.

Team composition

Teams formed by 2 or more persons are highly encouraged. Individual teams (formed by only one person) will still be considered. However, to ensure the feasibility of your business idea, you will need to show that you have available all the experience and skills needed to successfully implement your business idea.

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Judging Panel (tentative)

  • Tomasz Arciszewski
    Professor Emeritus, George Mason University
  • Sean Mallon
    Associate Vice President, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, George Mason University
  • Andre Manitius
    Chair, Department of Information Sciences and Technology, George Mason University
  • Robert Smith
    Director, Mason Small Business Development Center
  • Skip West
    President & Founder, MAXSA Innovations

Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Who can participate?
      All Mason students may participate to the Pitch IT competition. For teams formed by 2 or more persons, at least one must be an active Mason student and be the presenter. Pitch IT Advising Sessions are open to all Mason students and their teammates.
    2. Do I need to come with a business plan?
      NO. All you need is a business idea in the IT field or with a significant IT component.
    3. How will the prizes be assigned?
      A total of four prizes will be assigned. The first three prizes ($1,000, $500, and $300 respectively) will be assigned by a panel of judges formed by faculty, entrepreneurs, and other business experts. The fourth prize will be assigned by the competition audience. People in the audience will have the opportunity to vote for their preferred team and will be provided with paper ballots that will be collected at the end of the team presentations. The team totaling the largest number of votes from the audience will be assigned a special prize of $200.
    4. How are Advising Sessions structured?
      Students must pre-register for an advising session. Please email to reserve your slot. To ensure confidentiality, advising sessions are closed-door and members of the LITE team will meet separately with each team.
    5. What can I expect from Pitch IT Advising sessions?
      Pitch IT Advising sessions are directed at evaluating the feasibility of proposed business ideas and the ability of student entrepreneurs to put effort into their ideas and make progress. The more effort and progress a student demonstrates, the more resources such as time, workspace, and capital we are willing to invest. The initial pitch and feedback session will be brief, following the framework of a first contact venture capital pitch. As student entrepreneurs demonstrate initiative in enhancing and implementing their business idea, they will have greater access to LITE team and business experts through longer one-on-one meetings and more detailed feedback. This process ensures that the Laboratory resources are directed to the entrepreneurs who will achieve the greatest returns.
    6. I still have more questions. Who should I contact?
      Email . We will be happy to answer all of your questions!

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