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Riverside County Innovation Month 2024

Riverside County Innovation Month is an annual extravaganza dedicated to showcasing the ingenuity, resilience, and entrepreneurial spirit of our local businesses and individuals. Taking place throughout April, this month-long celebration features a diverse array of activities, workshops, and events focused on innovation.

Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned business owner, or simply curious about the latest innovations in Riverside County, we invite you to join us in celebrating creativity, growth, and progress during Riverside County Innovation Month 2024.

For more information and event schedules, please visit the Riverside County Innovation website. Let's make this a month to remember as we come together to celebrate innovation in our community!

CALL FOR STARTUPS: Join Our 5-Minute Fast Pitch Competition on April 18th, 2024

Get the chance to win prizes totaling $5,000 at our upcoming Riverside Regional Fast Pitch Competition and move onto the Riverside County Finale Competition for a chance to win up to $25,000!


As part of this dynamic celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship in Riverside County, California, we are thrilled to announce our upcoming Fast Pitch Competition on April 18th, 2024 at 5:30PM at Riverside ExCITE. Hosted by the Office of Technology Partnerships' EPIC SBDC, this event is designed to amplify the voices of startups and entrepreneurs in our community.

The Fast Pitch Competition is a highlight of Riverside County Innovation Month, offering a platform for startups and entrepreneurs to present their groundbreaking ideas in a 5-minute pitch. This year, the competition will consist of four regional events: Coachella Valley, Murrieta (Southwest Regional), Riverside (City), and Crucible.

We are inviting local startups to participate in our city-level Riverside competition for a change to secure a spot at the Riverside County Finale Competition and compete with other regional finalists. This event is also open to the public for the community - the bigger the audience, the more the fun! Food and drinks will be served. Join us for a night of networking, pitches, and innovations!

Andrea Cuellar


Our regional 2024 Riverside Fast Pitch event will include prizes of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000.

If you win our regional Fast Pitch, you will have the chance to move onto the Riverside County Finale Fast Pitch Event, which will award over $12,000 in prizes.

Guidelines for Participation

To participate in the Riverside Regional Fast Pitch Event on April 18th, 2024, eligible candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a startup with a verifiable business presence in Riverside County.
  • Possess a minimal viable product, with sales or early investment (less than $1M raised to date, excluding grant funding).
  • Submit an application to pitch in a Regional Fast Pitch Event panel.
  • Deliver a 5-minute Fast Pitch presentation, accompanied by a pitch deck.
  • Be prepared for a Q&A session with the judges, with responses limited to 1 minute each.
  • Entries will be screened by a panel of judges to determine eligibility.
  • Startups cannot enter more than one regional fast pitch competition during Innovation Month and should present in the nearest regional pitch competition to their business.

Please review the official 2024 Innovation Month Guidelines here.


Judging Criteria

Judging will be based on the 5-minute pitch presentations, along with the answers to the questions that judges ask. Each presentation must include a PowerPoint, due Monday, April 15th, 2024 by 5:00PM PST.

There are 5 different criteria, with each being given a 1-5 score and each given 20% weighting.

  • Business Model: Is this a valuable business? How likely is this company to succeed in its endeavor, and will it scale to a place that it can make a MAJOR impact on the market?
  • Quality of Presentation: Doe the presentation explain clearly, thoroughly, effectively, and creatively the message so that the potential viability and scalability can be understood?

Criteria Score

  1. Value: Does this concept provide value to the marketplace?
  2. Differentiation: Is this a new and innovation business?
  3. Viability and Scalability: Is there a plan and ability for this business to expand?
  4. Team: How strong are the founders and advisors in guiding this startup?
  5. Pitch Presentation: How well did the presenter(s) convey the product?

Each of the judges will select their own 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places through "forced ranking" the participants.

Following the presentations and Q&A sessions, the judges will retire to determine the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. The first-place winner will be invited to compete for the grand prize at the Riverside County finale, which will be held in Riverside on April 30th, 2024.

Note: Only scalable startups that met the criteria for the Riverside County Innovation Month Pitch Finale may be passed from the regional pitch competition to the finale.

Applications close on Monday, April 8th, 2024.


Qualifying for the County Finale

To qualify for the Riverside County Finale Fast Pitch Event on April 30, 2024, candidates must meet the following additional requirements:

  • Complete at least one hour of training with UCR’s EPIC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) prior to the County Finale.
  • Pitch a technology-focused or scalable business concept.
  • Qualify under a Regional Fast Pitch Event or be nominated by EPIC SBDC.
  • Deliver a 5-minute Fast Pitch presentation, followed by a Q&A session.
  • Provide a pitch deck prior to the event.

Preparing for Your 5-Minute Fast Pitch Presentation

Here are some key tips to help you prepare for your Fast Pitch presentation. NOTE: You cannot answer or address all these points in 5 minutes – this is meant only as a guide.

  • Ensure it stays under 5 minutes.
  • Have FUN and be passionate about your idea or product!
  • Start with a “hook” – i.e., Get the attention of the listener.
  • State the problem (pain/need) – from the point of view of your potential customers.
  • How do you address the problem and what is your “secret sauce?”
  • What is your Competitive Advantage? (How are you going to do it better, cheaper or faster, etc.?
  • Is it disruptive?
  • State your name, title, and company name.  The title of “Founder” may be a good choice where you do not have any prior experience.
  • Briefly tell what your company does.
  • How big is the market and is your business scalable?
  • How many people have this problem and would be willing to buy your product or service?
  • How do you make money? What is your go to market strategy?
  • Have you achieved a proof of concept?
  • Who “believes in you” – mention any successes you have had so far that can bring credibility to your pitch?
  • What is the revenue potential in terms of sales?  You may also mention how much of the market you intend to capture (e.g., 5% in 3 years).
  • The team is critical. Very briefly tell us about management team, any advisors and especially yourself.
  • What have you already put into your venture in terms of money and sweat equity? How much money do you need and what do you need it for? Will you need additional funding?
  • Close strong! Summarize how you have the complete “package.” Big problem, great solution (market ready), large potential market, outstanding management team, revenue generating customers with great margins.


Questions? Contact Us!

If you have any questions or need further information about the Fast Pitch Competition or Riverside County Innovation Month 2024, please don't hesitate to reach out to us:

Martin Kleckner Director, EPIC SBDC

Maricela Covarrubias Argueta Manager, ExCITE

We're here to help and support you on your innovation journey. Don't hesitate to contact us with any inquiries. Let's make this a month of innovation to remember!