2024 ELC Pitch Competition

See the PLA blog for a good summary of the 2023 pitch competition.

Is your library a player in economic development? If not yet, could it be? 

Do you have an idea on how your library could contribute to local job creation, entrepreneurship, and nonprofits — but you could use a little funding to get started? 

Then please consider submitting to the third annual pitch competition of the Entrepreneurship & Libraries Conference (ELC). Public, school, special, and academic libraries from the United States and Canada are encouraged to apply.

We will be giving away $7,000 total to the top 3 libraries in the competition:

1st place: $3,250
2nd place: $2,000
3rd place: $1,000
Audience choice award: $750 (added to that library’s prize)

The three winners will also be offered free peer mentoring as they develop their program.

2024 planning team


The focus of the pitching is how a library can support entrepreneurs, local economic development, job hunters, workforce development, nonprofits, and/or small businesses, with emphasis on local equity issues or marginalized populations and communities.

The target audience for the pitching will be stakeholders in economic development, not librarians. Therefore our three judges, who will rank the top three submissions on the pitch day in May, will be economic development officers.

Past contestants have noted that simply brainstorming what to say in a pitch – and whom to pitch to – have been very useful outcomes of this competition.

Results and videos from past competitions: 2023 | 2022 | 2020

Dates TBA

Submissions open
Workshop (via Zoom)
Submissions deadline
“Top three” libraries notified
Pitch competition (via Zoom)


Lead sponsor:



Other sponsors:

An anonymous donor






2023 Pitch Perfect Workshop

Videos and workshops from past competitions: 2023 | 2022 | 2020

The ELC Inclusive Entrepreneurship mini-conference provides examples and inspirations for partnering with marginalized populations and communities. Other past ELC programs are available too.

The ALA Libraries Build Business Playbook provides examples and recommendations of library outreach to and engagement with partners.

Mentoring program

Along with their prize money, the five libraries selected to participate in the pitch competition will have the opportunity to work one-to-one with a peer mentor. Awardees will be connected with mentors after the pitch competition in order to facilitate implementation and offer advice and feedback. Mentors will provide up to three hours of peer support over the course of six months via videoconference or phone meeting. It is up to the discretion of the mentor and mentee to determine frequency and scheduling. The purpose of the mentorship is to provide support for implementation and help pitch winners stay connected to the ELC Community for continuous feedback and peer sharing.

Ways that mentors can help:

  • Review materials and provide feedback
  • Listen to ideas or challenges 
  • Connect to resources and other colleagues
  • Offer advice and suggestions based on past experience


  • The winning libraries will share an update with the co-chairs on their process three months after the pitch day, and by the end of the calendar year will either write or record (video) a short “lessons learned” final report, which will be posted on the ELC website.
  • If a library won funding in an annual ELC pitch competition, it must wait two years before resubmitting (in other words, the library has to skip one competition).
  • If an ELC pitch competition planning member’s library wants to submit, that is great and to be encouraged, but that planning member will not participate in the selection of the top five submissions, nor have a speaking role on pitch day.