11th Annual Startup Challenge Monterey Bay announces winners

June 3, 2020

The Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (iiED) at CSUMB’s College of Business held the final round of the 11th Annual Startup Challenge Monterey Bay in May. Contestants competed online this year because of COVID-19, with 30 teams of entrepreneurs vying to be champions in four divisions.

Winners in each division were: infiniRel Corporation, Venture; We Hike, Inc., Social Venture; Nece’s Gluten Free Baked Goods, Main Street; and Howe Neat, Inc., Student. Go to the Startup Monterey Bay website for a complete listing and details about the 2020 Startup Challenge winners.

More than 100 companies entered this year’s challenge, supported by 40 judges and 25 mentors. Eight online pitch workshops were held prior to the Qualifying Round on April 4. Entrant’s pitches, normally held as a live, in-person event, were presented as pre-recorded videos. Judges chose 31 finalists in four divisions.

Mentors partnered with finalists to advise them on preparing their business summary and final pitch. The Startup Challenge hosted eight finalist pitch workshops and rehearsals, a branding workshop, and a COVID-19 financial assistance webinar.

Finalist teams then submitted their Final Round pitch videos, which were reviewed by a panel of regional business experts. Judges held online Q&A sessions with each team on May 8 before selecting the winners and runners-up.

The premier sponsor for this year’s event was the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) and CalGE. Other sponsors included White Summers and IP Society. The iiED is a community outreach supported through community contributions, sponsorships and grants. The iiED staff, faculty and students, and business volunteers have worked with over 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs and supported over 815 startup companies.