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Moonshot Hosts 2nd Annual Pioneer Pitch Contest Weekend

Shark Tank-Style Competition Being Held February 22-24

 Moonshot at NACET will host its second annual competition for innovators with “moonshot” ideas needing support – or businesses wanting to expand an existing innovative idea – during its second Pioneer Pitch event the weekend of Feb. 22 – 24.

The Shark Tank-style event will include workshops at the NACET campus on Gemini Drive and a final competition at Lowell Observatory on Mars Hill.

To be considered, potential contestants must submit an online application and post a two-minute video about their product or service on YouTube by Feb. 18.

“We are looking for founders that we can mentor so they can take their idea to market and scale it,” said Scott Hathcock, President/CEO of Moonshot at NACET. “We want dreamers, designers, scientists, engineers, technologists and other innovators who may have the next great idea.”

The entrepreneurs will be competing for more than $15,000 in cash prizes, scholarships and Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits, plus a chance to become an affiliate of the Moonshot at NACET program for a year. The program takes entrepreneurs and their ideas through a rigorous process resulting in a viable product or investment-ready concept by the program’s end.

There is no cost to the competitors participating in the event. Pioneer Pitch candidates will be selected based on the strength of their applications and videos, which should illustrate their new product or service – or their innovative approach to marketing an existing product – and why it is unique.

The weekend begins with a networking event with business leaders and investors the evening of Friday, Feb. 22. The next day, all applicants are invited to participate in a full day of workshops to refine their pitches at the Accelerator at NACET.


Keynote speakers include Aram Chavez, a former investment banker turned entrepreneur, who now teaches at Arizona State University and is the founder of AHA to Exit, which has created a startup roadmap for new companies. They’ll also hear from Lisa Lloyd, an inventor who has licensed and brought numerous products to the market and won coveted investment for her product TC Pets on the television show Shark Tank. She is the founder of the Inventor’s Association of Arizona.


Prior to the competition final on Sunday at Lowell Observatory, there will be a panel discussion at 1 p.m. with Chavez and entrepreneur and business coach Dena Patton on the lessons they’ve learned building successful international businesses and brands.


The eight competition finalists will make 5-minute pitches before a panel of business leaders beginning at 2 p.m. They will be judged on the strength of their presentation, which needs to demonstrate either an innovative product or approach to the marketplace and their understanding of how they need to position it to create a successful startup.


Representatives of Atlas Guides, which was the winning business in last year’s event, will give an update on their business while the judges deliberate.


The live panel and competition on Sunday are open to the public, but seats are limited.


Pioneer Pitch is presented by the City of Flagstaff and Choose Flagstaff. Sunwest Bank is the title sponsor and supporting sponsors include: AWD Law, AWS, Canyon Diablo Distillery, Lowell Observatory, Nackard Beverages, W.L. Gore and Associates, Woz-U,


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