South Side Pitch is an annual event hosted by the Institute for Justice’s Clinic on Entrepreneurship, showcasing inventive, inspiring, impactful entrepreneurs from the South Side of Chicago.

Small business owners get the chance to stand in the spotlight and pitch to win prizes.

A big thank you to everyone who applied this year – we’re currently reviewing applications and excited to announce the next phase of the competition soon. Stay tuned for more information!

Who Should Apply?

South Side Pitch is a competition for all South Siders who own a business and have a passion to pitch. The application below walks you through the eligibility requirements. Check out last year’s Finalists, and you’ll see our competition isn’t limited to any one industryIt’s all about what you bring to the table.

South Side Pitch Application: APPLICATIONS CLOSED!

Thank you to everyone who applied and helped spread the word! We received over one hundred appplications for the 9th Annual South Side Pitch, and our team is working hard to make sure each one is reviewed fairly, appropriately, and in a timely manner. Get ready for the Semifinalist Season next month!

This year, South Side Pitch is looking to celebrate South Side entrepreneurs by highlighting the impact their businesses have. South Side Pitch offers small business owners an opportunity to pitch in front of a city-wide audience to share their success story and for the chance to win cash prizes.

The judges will be looking for South Side businesses that can demonstrate a positive contribution to an individual life, community, or industry. For example, perhaps your business has improved your financial situation, led to a change in an industry, brought jobs to your community, or introduced a much-needed good or service to your neighborhood. Judges will also look at ways business owners have demonstrated creativity while growing their businesses. How has creativity contributed to the success of your business? How have you adapted to the many curveballs life throws at entrepreneurs?

We also want South Side entrepreneurs to be able to use their pitch to inspire the audience and encourage the public to invest in them. Thus, it is important that you explain why and how the cash prize would help your business and exhibit showmanship when delivering your pitch.

Questions? Email

South Side Pitch’s General Timeline

August 1, 2022


To be considered, you must have applied by August 8th at Midnight.

September 2022

Semifinalist Season

Submit Your Video Pitch! People’s Choice is Guaranteed a Prize.

October 2022

Finalist Coaching

Join IJCE & Pitching experts to practice your pitch!

October 20,2022

South Side Pitch!

Live at the Polsky Center, Finalists Pitch to Win the top prize!

PAST sponsors

prior winners

1st Place (2021)

Sista Afya

A Community Mental Wellness centering around Black women.

2nd Place (2021)

Piggyback Network

An online youth transportation marketplace for parents and guardians on shared routes

3rd Place (2021)

D. Jones Construction

100% minority-owned, women-owned certified general construction company

Past Contestants

South Side Pitch 2022

D. Jones Construction

Full service certified General Construction company About D. JONES construction Location Grand Crossing Contestant Dominique Jones Year Participated 2021 Status Winner (3rd Place) Videos Pitch…

South Side Pitch 2022

Last Lap Cornerstore

The South Side’s Specialty Running Store About LAST LAP CORNERSTORE Location Bronzeville Contestant Ian Gonzalez Year Participated 2021 Status Finalist (Audience Favorite) South…

South Side Pitch 2021

Sista Afya

Community Mental Wellness centering around Black women. About Sista Afya Location South Shore Contestant Camesha Jones Year Participated 2021 Status Winner (1st Place) Video Pitch Video Live Pitch…

South Side Pitch 2021

Piggyback Network

Where Community Meets Commute About Piggyback network Location Beverly Contestant Ismael El-Amin Year Participated 2021 Status Winner (2nd Place) South Side Pitch Home…

South Side Pitch 2020

The Lemonade Land

Pop-up Market for Micro Black-Owned Businesses in South Shore, Greater Grand Crossing, and Woodlawn Area About lemonade land Location South Shore Contestant Saba Favor Year Participated 2020…

South Side Pitch 2020

New Magnolia Garden Center Inc

A U-pick farm and garden center located in Back of the Yards. About new Magnolia garden center Location Back of the Yards Contestant Letia Gadberry Year Participated 2020…

South Side Pitch 2019

Dinobi Detergent

Safe, Effective, All-Natural Plant-Based Laundry Detergent About Dinobi detergent Location South Shore Contestant Augie & Sylvia Emuwa Year Participated 2019 Status Winner (1st Place)…