Creative Enterprise


ArtWorks Big Pitch Program, sponsored by U.S. Bank, is a 10-week mentorship program (July 21-September 28), for applicants looking to take their business to the next level.  All applicants must be in business at least two years (as of September 28, 2017) and looking to grow their business, by setting goals for growth with the aid of additional capital.   The 10-week commitment to the program ensures that each of the 8 finalists will be paired with a mentor and U.S. Bank small business banking specialist, and have access to at least 10 guided wordkshops and sessions to craft, hone and refine a business plan and pitch!

At the end of the 10-week program, all finalists will deliver their final pitch at the main event, Big Pitch, Thursday, September 28 at Memorial Hall.  One winner’s pitch will receive the grand prize of $15,000 selected by a panel of jurors.  A second prize of $5,000 will be awarded by a People’s Choice selection via an audience survey.

The overall benefits of the program are not only seen through the potential access to financial capital, but through the support of growing business experiences and the ongoing touchpoints of mentorship, specialist advice, feedback, and exposure to a large audience.  Big Pitch finalists become a part of a larger creative cohort and network, with sustained business relationships for years to come.



Selection Process:

1. Apply Online

Apply between Monday, April 24 – Friday, June 23


2. Meet Your Team

Over 10 weeks, July 21st-September 28th, each finalist participate in:

• At least 10 guided workshops and sessions, including mentorship and coaching from business mentor and U.S. Bank small business specialist.

• Workshops to polish your pitch and refine your business plan

• Exposure to 500+ audience members at the Big Pitch event

• A celebration event with Big Pitch alumni + creative cohort


3. Make Your Pitch

At the Big Pitch event, each finalist will deliver a 5-minute pitch to a panel of judges for the opportunity to receive a $15,000 business grant.  Finalists will be evaluated on the strength of their business plan and final pitch.  An additional $5,000 business grant will be awarded to the audience favorite.  Big Pitch will be held on September 28th at Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine.




Application Open: April 24

Big Pitch Panel Discussion featuring past finalist: May 17

Business Planning Workshop (free and open to all): May 31

Open Office Hours: June 12-16

Applications Close: June 23

Finalist Notified: July 14

Finalist Workshops: July 25, August 1, August 8, September 5, September 19

Final Presentation due: September 22

Big Pitch 2017: September 28



2017 ArtWorks Big Pitch Application

ArtWorks is looking for Artisans, Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs who have been in business for a minimum of 2 years to apply for the ArtWorks Big Pitch competition. Your business headquarters must be within 30 miles from the ArtWorks office (20 E. Central Parkway, 45202). After applications close, eight finalists will be chosen by a review committee. Each finalist will be paired with a mentor and U.S. Bank Small Business Banking Specialist for a 10-week guided mentorship program culminating in a live pitch event. Finalist will give their 5-minute pitch at ArtWorks Big Pitch event on September 28th for the chance at a grand prize of $15,000 cash and an Audience Choice prize of $5,000 to fund a long-term tangible growth opportunity. Finalists will be notified no later than July 14, 2017 and must accept by July 17th. The 10 week mentorship program lasts from July 21st-September 28th. Please note there is a $25 application fee. There will be a link to submit your $25 application fee after completing the form. Applications submitted without the fee will not be reviewed.
  • Must be in business 2 or more years as of September 28, 2017.
    ArtWorks defines your "launch" as the approximate time you started generating revenue or when you registered your legal structure (LLC, etc.)
  • Nonprofits are ineligible to apply. You do not need to have a registered LLC in order to apply.
  • Select more than one if applicable.
  • Tell us your story in your own way. Production value is not important - this can be filmed with your cell phone. Please do not exceed 3 minutes.
  • Business Plan (Required)

    A current business plan is required to apply. Due to limited file sizes, applicants have two options to submit your business plan:

    1. Upload a Word document or PDF.
    2. Link to your business plan via Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
  • For assistance assembling or updating your business plan, click below:
  • **Update: If your business plan is too large to upload, please use the box below to link to your business plan via DropBox, Google Drive, etc.**
    Your business plan should reflect your current business and should not include your plans for the $15,000. If you are chosen as a finalist, a mentor and U.S. Bank Specialist will help you fine-tune your business plan to include your future business growth opportunities (the program). PDFs or Microsoft Word documents only. Please note that your business plan will only be seen by the Big Pitch Review Committee.
    Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx.
  • **Update: If your business plan is too large to upload, please link to your business plan via DropBox, Google Drive, etc.**
  • By clicking yes, I agree that I am at least 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States, and I agree that if selected as a finalist, I will be required to:
    - Provide proof of identity and residency
    - Provide a Federal Tax ID number and completed W-9
    - Comply with all prize recipient requirements as stated above
  • NOTE: If you are not taken to a confirmation page upon clicking the "Submit" button, your application did not go through! You must submit your $25 application fee on the next page. Applications submitted without the fee will not be reviewed.