What You Need to Know About the Innovation Challenge

Due to the overwhelming request to survive the holiday season, we have extended the application deadline! The second Innovation Challenge by Think Dutchess is accepting applications through January 11, 2019!

The pitch competition will place four contestants, in two categories (Idea/Seed Stage Start-Up and Early Stage Business) in a live pitch with an audience, as well as a panel of expert judges, who will vote to discover the next great business! In an effort to spur innovation and creativity right here in Dutchess County, the competition promotes advancements in various sectors of emerging technology, products and services.

The Innovation Challenge pairs each semi-finalist with relevant mentors who can be a help to the business, providing advice and counsel. Semi-finalists have the opportunity to network and increase their exposure with influential Hudson Valley companies and organizations and can take leverage the opportunity for customized consultations including risk management, finance & sales strategy, marketing & branding, and pitch coaching.

Here’s what you need to know:

Entry Deadline:


Entry Fee:



The Innovation Challenge is a pitch competition for Hudson Valley entrepreneurs and startups seeking to establish their business.  In its second year, the Innovation Challenge- a pitch competition for Hudson Valley startups and entrepreneurs- offers an opportunity to build your business blueprint for success. Contestants gain exposure, practical insights about starting and growing a business, access to Think Dutchess’ network of business services and investors, and of course, prizes!

Judging Criteria:

An independant judging committee will assess business plan summaries and move two contestants in each category to compete in the live pitch event.


At least one of the Seed/Idea Stage Start-Up C-Suite officers must be a Hudson Valley resident.

Early Stage Businesses must be located in the Hudson Valley region and must currently service Dutchess County.

Awards & Prizes:

Cash and Services valued at more than $9,000 and growing.


2018 BEA Visionary Sponsor Central Hudson



Previous Winners:

Screamin’ Onionz







Questions? Contact

Rachel Welch

Email: rachel@thinkdutchess.com

Phone: (845) 463-5400

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A premier business-led organization, Think Dutchess Alliance for Business brings together 10 agency partners creating a one-stop shop for your site selection, financing, incentives, permitting and advocacy, strategic planning and counseling, marketing and networking needs.