in funding
(one $25,000 winner and
14 $5,000 winners)
in services including
5,000 sq. ft. space
Venture Boot Camp
...and more!
Submit your 2-page proposal to
by December 19th, 2013!

The Gist:

Should I apply?

  • Thrill Mill’s incubator is open to startups from any industry – even nonprofits are welcome to apply.
  • You do not need a full business plan to apply – all you need is an idea!

What do I receive?

  • 15 startups will be selected to join Thrill Mill’s incubator in East Liberty:
    • 14 startups will receive $5,000 and access to the incubator from February 2014 to January 2015
    • 1 startup will receive $25,000 and access to the incubator from February 2014 to January 2015
  • Thrill Mill, Inc., a nonprofit organization, will take 5% ownership of each of the 15 startups – if you hit a homerun, you will be paying it forward to even more entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh!

Why should I apply?

  • All 15 startups will benefit from:
    • A six-week intensive entrepreneurship course taught by serial entrepreneur and University of Pittsburgh Professor Babs Carryer;
    • Thrill Mill’s partnership with C-Leveled, giving you access to experienced entrepreneurs with a breadth and depth of domain expertise;
    • Thrill Mill’s mentorship program designed to connect you to the best possible experience advisors;
    • Participation in Thrill Mill’s investor pitches at Thrival Festival

When and where do I apply?

  • Submit your simple two-page application (details below) to thebusinessbout@gmail.com by Thursday, December 19th at midnight.

What is the Business Bout?

The Business Bout is a business plan competition where applicants compete for access to funding and a slot in Thrill Mill’s startup accelerator. Last year, we awarded $25,000 in funding. This cycle, we will be awarding $95,000 (one $25,000 winner and 14 $5,000 winners)! In addition, each team will receive more than $50,000 in services from Venture Boot Camp, Carnegie Mellon University Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Babs Carryer, and C-Leveled, along with one year of 24/7 access to our 5,000 square foot accelerator space in East Liberty.

Sweet! How do I apply?

Simply complete our two-page application and email in either Word or PDF format to thebusinessbout@gmail.com. The application is easy:

  • Page 1 – What is your business idea?
  • Page 2 – Who are you and why do you want to build your business in Pittsburgh?

I’m SO FIRED UP. When can I apply?

We are accepting applications NOW. The submission window will close on Thursday, December 19th at Midnight.

Great! So once I submit my application what happens??

We will be selecting a group of finalists to participate in a MANDATORY 3-day startup boot camp, Venture Boot Camp, a program founded by Carnegie Mellon University Tepper MBA alums, from Friday, January 17th – Sunday, January 19th. The program usually costs more than $1,000 per person, however the selected finalists will participate for free! The camp helps entrepreneurs to prepare their business for ultimate success. It accomplishes this goal by focusing on the fundamental elements of successful startups, equipping participants with tools and techniques that can be used immediately to improve the viability of any business. The founders bring in a bi-coastal approach with contacts and experience that span across the country. They have direct experience in bio-med, high-tech and clean tech investments. Their network spans the private sector, NGOs, non-profits and government entities. At the conclusion of the boot camp, we schedule each finalist team for a 30-minute presentation and Q&A session. Finally, we will select a small group who will compete for the first-place $25,000 award!

This is like the best day of my LIFE. So, if I’m selected as a finalist, but am not chosen to compete for the $25,000 grand prize, am I out?

NO! As a finalist, you will be under consideration to receive $5,000 and a spot in the incubator. We will make offers in early February of 2014 and will bring the new class of 15 teams in late February.

Let’s just assume I’m going to be selected because my idea is AMAZING. How will the program work?

Love your confidence, made-up-person!! If you’re selected as THE winner, you will receive $25,000 and a spot in the incubator for one full year from February 2014 to February 2015. Thrill Mill, Inc., a non-profit organization, will take a 5% ownership stake in your company. If you’re selected as one of the 14 remaining startups, you will receive $5,000 with all other terms remaining the same (Thrill Mill will still take the 5% ownership). You and your team will enter the incubator in February, at which point we will do everything we can to equip you with the skills, knowledge, experience, connections and mentors to help you succeed:

  • For the following 6 weeks, all teams will participate in an intensive, condensed entrepreneurship course taught by Babs Carryer, who teaches entrepreneurship at CMU and Pitt and is an entrepreneur, blogger and renowned startup advisor. In this course, you will learn how to avoid classic entrepreneurial pitfalls, as well as how to optimize your new venture for success in the marketplace.
  • From April until September, the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence from C-Leveled, with decades of entrepreneurial successes (and failures of course) from which to draw will work with you hands-on to accelerate the growth of your business. Concurrently, Thrill Mill’s team will be actively assisting you through connections to advisors, mentors and investors. The C-leveled partnership will give Thrill Mill startups access to a talented group of experienced Entrepreneurs with deep domain expertise. After completing the Venture Boot Camp program and Babs Carryer’s curriculum, you will have access to the C-leveled team of CXO’s, giving you a chance to engage and learn from former and current successful founders with divers expertise. The team of CXO's from C-leveled have all started and exited multiple businesses. C-leveled serves not only the startup markets but also clients with revenue in the $2,000,000-$20,000,0000. They provide deep experience and connectivity in marketing operations, finance and technology.
  • In September of 2014, you and your Thrill Mill cohorts will present your investor pitches to a massive audience of investors at Thrival Innovation + Music Festival. Afterward, we will help you close on investment opportunities and assist you in finding office space when you transition out of Thrill Mill in 2015.

I am so in. Thanks, Thrill Mill team!

You are so welcome, made-up-person.