What is South Side Pitch?

Every year, small businesses across the South Side of Chicago participate in South Side Pitch, sharing stories about their roots, their impact, and their visions for the future. The contest ends with a shark-tank style event where finalists pitch their businesses to a city-wide audience and a panel of judges for the chance to win cash prizes totaling over $34,000! Our goal is to shine a spotlight on these  incredible business owners and inspire others to pursue their dreams and build up their communities through entrepreneurship. 

hosted by

South Side Pitch is hosted by the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School. Located on the South Side, we advocate for economic liberty so that entrepreneurs from Chicago can chart their own courses in life, build up neighborhoods, and create jobs. We provide free legal assistance, access to resources, and advocacy for underserved entrepreneurs in the Chicago area. 



South Side Pitch’s General Timeline

June to August 2024

Applications open from June 17th to August 5th 2024

To be considered for 2024 SSP, you must apply by August 5th at 11:59pm.

Mid August 2024

Application Review & Pitch Perfect

Interested in networking and refining your business pitch while applications are reviewed? Join the IJCE at the University of Chicago Law School in late June or August 2024 for Pitch Perfect!

Late August to Mid September 2024

Semifinalist Season

Semifinalists are selected in late August 2024! Submit your video pitch and the public votes who receives the People’s Choice award! The Peopleʼs Choice is guaranteed a spot to compete in October!

Late September 2024

Finalist Coaching

Finalists are selected in late September 2024! Join IJCE & pitching experts to practice your pitch!

October 17, 2024

South Side Pitch!

Live at the Polsky Center North on October 17, 2024. Finalists pitch to win the top prize! RSVP here for the competition!


With over $34,000 in prizes, the IJ Clinic is spotlighting South Siders with a passion to pitch. Compete against over 100 applicants for one of the top five spots! Each finalist is guaranteed a cash prize at the end of the night.

First Place


Second Place


Third Place


Fourth Place


Fifth Place


Community Favorite Award


*The Community Favorite Award is a generous cash award that acknowledges the South Side Pitch finalist that receives the most public votes. 

*The Rustandy Center Social Impact Award is a generous cash award of $2,500 that is given to a South Side Pitch finalist chosen by staff from the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

2023 Finalists


R City Kitchen

The South Side’s Shared Community Kitchen

As a graduate of Chicago State University majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Rodney always wanted to bring training and education to the food and beverage industry that he loved to Chicago’s Southside. That’s when…

South Side Pitch 2023

1st Place

Morgan Park

JustUs Junkie

Bringing justice from courtrooms to the classrooms

JustUs Junkie began five years ago with a viral video, “4 Things Not To Do If Stopped By Police.” As a criminal defense attorney of 19 years, April Preyar posted the video out of sheer…

South Side Pitch 2023

2nd Place

North Lawndale


A beauty mobile application for women of color

Shawna Woodruff and her cofounding sisters of BeautySKU know what it feels like to throw their hard-earned money at beauty brands that don’t appreciate them enough to incorporate their foundation shades or create solutions for…

South Side Pitch 2023

3rd Place

Bronzeville and South Shore

Stoviink Creatives

Inspiring Wellness Through Artisanal Crafts & the Creative Arts

As creatives and entrepreneurs, Megan and Marie Turner found it increasingly important to incorporate their South Side stories and experiences into their business products. These stories are at the heart of everything they create, including…

South Side Pitch 2023

4th Place

West Englewood

Englewood Branded

West Englewood’s Clothing Brand

Englewood Branded was born from the love of its community. Being an Englewood resident since the age of 5 years old, Corrie learned the importance of support and saw firsthand how it could help groom…

South Side Pitch 2023

5th Place

Support small businesses on the South Side of Chicago, like Moor’s Brewing, by becoming a sponsor of South Side Pitch!

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