Andrew Wimer
Andrew Wimer · July 22, 2020

CHICAGO—South Side Pitch, the annual business pitch competition, will move online this fall in order to continue highlighting South Side entrepreneurs. The application period is now open and aspiring entrepreneurs can visit for contest details and to apply. Since its inception, the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship-hosted competition has been a powerful demonstration that the South Side is home to inspirational individuals determined to improve their lives and their community.

“While 2020 has been a challenging time to run or launch a business, we know that there are many entrepreneurial South Siders who see the year’s challenges as opportunities,” said Beth Kregor, the director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. “We do not want to miss the opportunity to shine a light on their efforts even if we cannot host the competition in front of a live audience. We hope that by going online this year, even more people across Chicago and around the world can see the dynamism of the South Side on display.”

South Side Pitch allows promising entrepreneurs to share their success stories and the impacts their businesses have in a “Shark Tank” style contest, with the final contestants presenting their pitches during an online event on November 5. Applicants compete to win several great prizes, including a total of $20,000 in cash prizes, nearly double the amount awarded last year.

South Side Pitch welcomes entrepreneurs past the idea stage—established businesses with a track record of serving customers —to apply. In the semifinals, a group of applicants will be invited to submit a one-minute video. Finalists from that pool will have the opportunity to present online in November. The application period for South Side Pitch is now open and will close on August 24.

Prior winners have used their prizes to expand their businesses and create new jobs. Last year’s first-place winner, Dinobi Detergent, used their prize money to increase their marketing efforts and invest more in their product. Since winning, their product has landed in stores and several online platforms. Dinobi Detergent owners Augustine and Sylvia Emuwa said, “The Southside pitch funds helped to solidify our direction as a startup. We went from a concept to a business that continues to grow and gain exposure. We are so happy to have been a part of this amazing community impact effort.”

South Side Pitch is hosted by the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. The contest is sponsored by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement. To learn more, visit 

The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship provides free legal assistance, access to resources and advocacy for low-income Chicago entrepreneurs. To learn more about the IJ Clinic, visit