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"Entrepreneurs Star" Midwest Pitch Competition

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mHub Chicago

965 West Chicago Avenue

Chicago, IL 60642

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Build312 and BASIC (Blue Angel Startups & Innovation Club) are honored to bring the 10th China Shenzhen Nanshan “Entrepreneurs Star” Contest to the Midwest. This initiative is joined by over 30 institutions across 8 states as well as the startup hubs like 1871, Technori, Polsky Center, The Garage, FinTank, Technori, etc. Our goal is to provide local startups with the best resources to facilitate their success, and to integrate the Midwest startup community with a broader, global one.

Since 2008, this China-based annual pitch competition has attracted 200+ participating teams globally, and helped raise more than $430,000,000 in total for these startups. This event has generated more than 1,000 media reports, involved over 3,000 contest judges, investors, academic professors as well as over 3,000 collaboration activities.

Midwest Picth Competition

This year, Build312 and BASIC is going to bring this internationally-recognized contest to the Midwest, so promising startups can have access to top-tier investors just like their Silicon Valley peers do. This pitch competition serves two purposes:

1) standalone contest for startups in the Midwest. Startups will have the opportunity to pitch in front of some of the best investors in the U.S., and the top teams will be able to receive the prize awards.

2) the selection round for the final pitch competition hosted in Shenzhen, where the top 25% startups from the Midwest region will have the chance to compete with other teams for the $1 million prize pool.

Competition Structure:

Presentation Requirements: Each team has 5 minutes to present/pitch to the judges. Live demo, if available, is highly recommended.

Contest Judging Criteria: Each team will be judged in real time by a panel of on-site contest judges based on the problem/product/market fit, technology innovation, team strength and business model.


  • $5,000 cash prize in selection round

  • 5 free hour of atterney services provided from Getech Law

  • Top 25% of the team will be selected for the next round to compete for $1 million prize pool


  • 9:30 AM - 9:40 AM Opening Ceremony

  • 9:40 AM - 10:00 AM Keynote: US & China Startup Ecosysmtem & Investment Flow

  • 10:05 AM - 10:25 AM Keynote: Chicagoland Innovation and Opportunity

  • 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM Panel: Startups Making a Difference

  • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Lunch Break

  • 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM Pitch Competition

  • 4:30PM - 5:00PM Award Ceremony


  • Victor Pascucci, Managing Partner, Lightbank

Venture capitalist with 19+ years of broad professional experience. Extensive fintech investing and financial services track record. Diverse background with Fortune 130 and early-stage venture companies. Complimentary leadership roles in corporate strategy and as general counsel.

  • Jeff Carter, Manager, Westloop Ventures and Co-founder, Hyde park Angels

Intense sense of timing, innovative, strategic, transparent, knows how to get edge. Took the ethic from the trading floor of "My word is my bond" and brought it into practice with early stage investing. Partner at WestLoopVentures.com, an early stage VC fund that invests in B2B Fin Tech companies.

  • Carl Larson, Board Advisor, OCA Ventures

A seasoned executive responsible for leading & developing sales organizations that build executive business relationships to improve profits, reduce costs & manage risk. Over the past 2 decades, recognized as the #1 Regional Manager, Area & Group VP for generating over $3B for Oracle.

  • Xinjian Zhou, President, Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation (BICI), USA

Dr. Zhou received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from Peking University and Cornell University, respectively. Before joining BICI, Dr. Zhou has worked in product development and system ASML, technology scouting and investment as Venture Manager at Technology To Business (TTB) center of Siemens, and technology transfer as BD director at Xerox PARC.

  • Jackson Jhil, Venture Capitalist, Chicago Ventures

Work on sourcing, evaluating, and executing investments. Venture Capitalist at Chicago Ventures, an early stage technology fund that invests $1M-2M in software and tech-enabled companies.

  • Constance Deng, Venture Capitalist, Pritzker Group

Presenting Teams:

We have received more than 60 business plans from a diversified profile of applicants, including healthcare, artificial intelligence, manufacturing, education, energy and digital technology. We are proud to say that a significant amount of business plans are recommended by school startup hubs, successful incubators around the Midwest.

(A detailed introduction of presenting team will come soon.)

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Attend:

1. Watch and cheer on some of the top entrepreneurial talents in the nation

2. Network with entrepreneurs, business leaders, venture capitalists, young professionals and students

3. Enjoy the top-notch speakers and entrepreneurs as they share their perspectives and stories

4. Experience and explore an amazing coworking space and innovation hub

5. Eligible to enter an exciting raffle for a chance to win special prizes

For More Information:

Please visit our website www.build312.co/contest for more information and feel free to reach out to our team at contest@build312.co for specific inquiries.


Final contest in China to be hosted by Shenzhen Nanshan District Government and Shenzhen Municipal
Science & Technology Commission.

Organizer: Nanshan District Science Technology and Innovation Bureau, Nanshan District Hi-tech Venture Service Center.
Executed by Shenzhen Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Promotion Association.
Midwest Co-Organizers: Build312 & BASIC.

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mHub Chicago

965 West Chicago Avenue

Chicago, IL 60642

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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