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Selling a successful startup is by no means an easy task. Pitching an idea justly is not something that happens over night. It takes careful thought, planning, and revision. That's why I encourage founders to take EVERY opportunity to sell their idea.

A perfect pitch takes practice.

In it's 12th year, the Charlotte Venture Challenge is one of the most well-known and funded events in the southeast. I sat down yesterday to chat with Devin Collins, one of the organizers for the Charlotte Venture Challenge, to find out more about their mission.

Set over a series of five workshops spread out between February and May, they aim to attract the best early stage companies in the area to compete for pride, opportunity, and cash.

Companies that are chosen come from one of six categories:

1) New Energy/High Tech
2) IT and Informatics
3) Life and Biotech Sciences
4) Consumer Products and Services
5) Student Undergraduate Ventures
6) Student Graduate Ventures

Winning has its perks of course. With a combination of funds from the $75 entry fee and donations from sponsors, the organization gave out over $100,000 in funds last year alone. This year, 1st place nets you $25,000 for your startup, with additional prizes for each category.

Devin talked about his main goals with the competition: "Create an event that highlights all the top high growth companies in the Southeast, bring them to a single place where we can attract venture capitalists and investors from throughout the Southeast and beyond to come and see them."

UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte Research Institute specifically, are aiming to get local talent the biggest exposure possible.

There have been several success stories out of the competition. Notable in the list include a Charlotte native voicemail transcription app -- Yap was bought quietly by Amazon in November of 2011 for an undisclosed amount. Ometric, another company hailing from the Southeast, was also purchased in 2011 by Halliburton. They initially received 250,000 in funding from Treyls Funds once they saw them at the CVC pitch.

Furthermore, if your company is student run, it's free to apply. Get your application here. The deadline is March 1st.

On an interesting side note, the application was co-authored with NC IDEA to create uniformity between applications.