Rules & Requirements

How does it work?

Important Dates & Deadlines

Friday, August 2, 2019 Applications to Springfield Hustles Open 
Friday, August 16, 2019 Application Deadline
Friday, October 18, 2019 Business Plan Submission Deadline
Friday, October 25, 2019 Finalists Announced
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 Springfield Hustles Pitch Event

Springfield Hustles Pitch Event

When – Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019 6PM-8:30PM
Where – John Legend Theater 731 orchard pl, Springfield, OH 45505


  • Only brand new business concepts and startups who have been in existence for less than 3 years will be considered.
  • All ventures must be headquartered within Springfield city limits. Competitors who live outside of the Springfield area are encouraged to compete, but must be willing to locate their company headquarters in Springfield.
  • All ventures must be “for-profit” entities.
  • At least one business owner must be 18 years or older.
  • All ventures must have some involvement with a Business Coach from the local Small Business Development Center during the period of time between submitting their application and their final business plan.
  • The following types of ventures are not eligible to compete: new businesses formed through a merger or acquisition, buy-outs of existing businesses, tax shelters, holding companies, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing corporations.
  • All competitors must be able to attend the Springfield Hustles Pitch Event in person on Wednesday, November 6th at 7:00 pm EST.

The Springfield Hustles Selection Committee has the final decision on which teams are invited to compete in the competition and reserves the right to include or exclude any teams for any reasons.

Competition Format

Business Plan Evaluation – All business plan entries will be reviewed and scored by each member of the Springfield Hustles Selection Committee based on the judging and scoring criteria described below. The average of the scores from each member of the Selection Committee will be used to determine the top 8 people who will advance to compete in the Springfield Hustles Pitch Event.

Pitch Event – The 8 finalists will each get an opportunity to pitch their company to a panel of judges who will determine the Grand Prize winner. Each competitor will get 10 minutes to make their pitch. After the pitch has concluded, the panel of judges will have an opportunity to ask follow-up questions, which may take another 5 to 10 minutes at minimum.

Based on the potential seen through both the business plans and the live pitches, each judge will rank the competitors first through eighth. Their combined rankings will be used to determine a grand prize winner.

Judging and Scoring

Both the business plans and the live pitches will be judged and scored based on the following three categories:

  1. Business Model Feasibility – Is there a market for what you want to sell and do people make a healthy return within this market?
  2. Management Team Feasibility – Do you have the characteristics, expertise, and experience to lead this business toward success?
  3. Market Feasibility – Is there room in the market for another competitor and how will the competitive environment shape your chances of success?

Judges will take into account both the content of the business plan and the live pitch of each competitor when determining their score for each of the three categories named above. Each category will be scored 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. The total of the three categories will be combined for each competitor, and the competitor who had the highest average score from the judges will be announced as the winner of Springfield Hustles.


The same scoring criteria will be used for both the initial Business Plan Evaluation round and the final Pitch Event round.


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