SALISBURY, N.C. – The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Small Business Center will partner with other community college small business centers in the region to support entrepreneurship through a business idea pitch competition sponsored by the Fifth Third Bank Foundation.

The “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” was designed to help address income inequality and equity through entrepreneurship. Participants will have a chance to gain access to the capital, training resources and social connections that can allow them to take an idea and turn it into a viable business. The top prize winner will receive $10,000 in seed money for a start-up business.

“We are pleased to join Fifth Third Bank and other community colleges to create business opportunities in our communities,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. “This creative competition offers budding entrepreneurs that all-important chance to get an idea off the ground.”

To enter, business owners or prospective owners may submit a 53-second video pitch of their business idea by uploading to The submission deadline is Feb. 20, 2020. For participants who would like their video recorded for them, two locations will be available in January, with information available at

Judges will review the submissions and select the top 53 pitches. Top entrants will advance in the competition and receive a $50 award. Over the following 53 days, the participants will work to refine their ideas and master their pitches before the next selection process.

Training and coaching on pitching, marketing, financing, forecasting and business law will be available to participants, regardless of whether they advance in the competition. Free resources will be offered by small business centers located at community colleges including Central Piedmont, Cleveland, Gaston, Mitchell, Rowan-Cabarrus, South Piedmont and Stanly.

After the 53-day training period, the top 53 entrants will participate in a closed pitch event where the judges will narrow the field down to 15. The top 15 will receive $200 each and go on to compete on stage for the top awards: first place, $10,000; second place, $5,000; and third place, $2,500 in seed funding to help turn their ideas into a viable business.

The 38 participants who did not advance can still showcase their ideas at an expo before the final pitch event. This gives these participants visibility with event attendees, as well as an opportunity to share their ideas and increase their social networks.

The “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” is made possible by the support from the Fifth Third Bank Foundation.

Learn more about the “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” at