Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Logo
Apply to SIUE

Metro East Start-Up Challenge
Metro East Start-Up Challenge

To participate in the 2020 Metro East Startup Challenge, prospective applicants must meet the following criteria:

1. An entrepreneur and/or an existing small business enterprise established after April 30, 2017;

2. For existing businesses, operations headquartered in the nine-county Metro East region (Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe, Randolph). For pre-venture entrepreneurs, proposed new business operations will need to be located in these nine counties;

3. The competition is targeting proposals addressing the following broadly defined business sectors (but not limited to):

  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Sustainable Food 

Structure and Schedule:

The SIUE Metro East Start-Up Challenge includes three (3) rounds. The first round consists of a questionnaire and executive summary submittal for all applicants meeting the eligibility guidelines. The second round is submitting the business plan and open only to first-round participants invited to submit. The third round is the final pitch and open only to second round participants invited to develop a pitch.


June 22, 2020: First Round Application Open

August 9, 2020, 11:59 p.m.: First Round Application/Executive Summary


August 21, 2020: Semi-Finalists Announced/Second Round Applications Open

September 3, 2020, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Mentor-Semifinalist Networking Event

  • Gateway Center, Collinsville

September 23, 2020, 3:30-5:00 p.m.:  Pitch Prep Class 1

  • SIUE Morris University Center, Willow Room

October 4, 2020, 11:59 p.m. Second Round Condensed Business Plan

October 7, 2020, 3:30-5:00 p.m.: Pitch Prep Class 2

  • SIUE Morris University Center, Willow Room

October 14, 2020, 3:00-5:30 p.m.:  Mock Pitch

  • SIUE Morris University Center, Magnolia Room

October 21, 2020: Judges complete and Submit Evaluations

October 23, 2020: Announcement of Finalists 

October 29, 2020: Final Pitch to Judging Panel

  • SIUE Morris University Center, Magnolia Room

November 6, 2020, 7:30-9:00 a.m.: Announcement of MESC Winners at Leadership Council Meeting

  • Location To Be Determined

Use of Competition Materials

The SBDC reserves the right to use any materials prepared for the challenge for the purpose of publicizing and promoting the event. The SBDC may use these materials in any printed materials and any video or another medium that it may produce. The SBDC reserves the right to record any portion of the competition and use for future publicity and promotion.

Changes to Competition Rules

While not anticipated, the challenge rules and prizes are subject to change at any time. 

Decisions regarding the Competition and the Winners

All decisions regarding the competition rules, procedures and processes are at the sole discretion of the SBDC. Changes and/or interpretation of these rules may be made by the SBDC at any time, even though they may be (or may appear to be) in conflict with previously published information. The selection of teams and winners is at the sole discretion of the judges and the SBDC.


The SIUE Metro East Start-Up Challenge considers all submitted business plans as confidential and treats all team matters accordingly. But, due to the nature of the event, we cannot guarantee complete confidentiality for proprietary matters. SIUE, challenge sponsors and the organizers of the competition are not responsible for any proprietary information and/or intellectual property included in a submitted business plan.

Ultimately, protection of sensitive materials such as intellectual property, copyright, or patent confidentiality is the sole responsibility of the individual or team participating in the competition. Non-disclosure agreements will not be signed by judges, mentors or any SIUE staff associated with the business plan competition.

MESC 2019 Sponsors

For More Information
Contact the Illinois Small Business
Development Center (SBDC)
facebookoff twitteroff vineoff linkedinoff flickeroff instagramoff socialoff