“@ the Table” Pitch Competition

Is your library a player in economic development? Or do you have an idea on how your library could contribute to job creation, entrepreneurship, and nonprofits — but you could use a little funding to get started?

@ the Table is the inaugural pitch competition of the Entrepreneurship & Libraries Conference (ELC). Libraries will be invited to pitch ideas or initiatives to stakeholders in economic development. Public, school, special, and academic librarians are encouraged to apply. The focus of the pitches is how a library can support local economic development, job creation, workforce development, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, small businesses, or innovation in general.

Application Requirements

Pitches for ideas or initiatives currently in place or in progress will be considered. The application should include:

  • Contact information (name, email, and institution)
  • A 500-word description of the character and scope of your idea, including:
    • Specific local target population
    • Problem addressed by your idea or initiative
    • Resources available or needed 
    • Service(s) that will be provided
    • How would you assess the library’s impact

Applicants should pretend their audience is local community partners, not fellow librarians.

Applications will be evaluated for :

  • Clarity and thoroughness 
  • Innovation
  • Impact on community 

Application Timeline

The competition consists of two phases: following the initial application, five finalists will advance to the pitch competition.

Important Dates:

  • Monday, August 10, 2020 – @ The Table Pitch Competition Opens / Applications Accepted
  • Friday, September 25, 2020 – Application Deadline
  • Monday, October 5, 2020 – Finalists Announced
  • Thursday, November 12, 2020 – Pitch Competition / Winners Announced 

Pitch Competition and Awards

Five finalists will have up to five minutes to pitch their idea or initiative live and online to a panel of economic development professionals and the ELC 2020 attendees on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 3pm Eastern. 

The first place library will receive $2,000. $500 will be awarded to both the second place winner and the audience choice winner. EBSCO is the generous sponsor of this competition.

Jennifer Hensel at Launch Greensboro will be providing pre-recorded best practices for all contestants, as well as one-on-one consultations with the five finalists before the live pitching takes place.

If you have any questions, please contact the Pitch Competition co-chairs Orolando Duffus ([email protected]) or Nataly Blas ([email protected]).

Submit your application here !


Meet our Judges!

Janet Wurtzel

Janet Wurtzel is a developer of people, organizations and communities with a passion for entrepreneurship. She is a strategic thinker, an enthusiastic visionary of what can be, a creative problem solver and a relationship builder focused on strengths. She believes in the power of networking and relishes connecting people and organizations for mutual benefit. 

Currently, Wurtzel is a consultant under contract to the Delaware Division of Libraries tasked with helping connect entrepreneurs to library resources. Initially, she provided business counseling services to patrons and hosted weekly workshops presented by local entrepreneurs in six libraries via video conference. Counseling is now provided in English and Spanish for the 33 public libraries through partnerships she established with business development organizations. She trains librarians, staff from business development organizations and participants in entrepreneurship programs in the use of Reference USA. 

In addition to being an entrepreneur and small business owner, she has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Previously, she was the COO of the Delaware Economic Development Office, a fund-raiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware, a systems engineer for EDS and a crew base manager for a major airline. 

Wurtzel is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s College of Business and Economics. A life-long learner, she has earned certificates in economic development, tourism, computer programming and advanced wine and spirits. 

Daisy Magnus-Aryitey

Daisy Magnus-Aryitey serves as Program Director at NC IDEA, where her primary responsibility is managing the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program. 

Prior to joining NC IDEA, Daisy served as Director of Programs for Code the Dream, a tech nonprofit based in Durham, NC. In that role, Daisy oversaw the national expansion of the nonprofit, taking Code the Dream from a place-based training program to a fully online offering, and increasing its ability to provide systemic access to economic opportunity through tech education. Prior to joining Code the Dream, Daisy worked as a software developer at Duke University. Daisy has an M.A in Education Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has a B.A. from Rutgers University. 

Before beginning a career in tech, Daisy was a stay-at-home mom. She is passionate about technology, education and equity; and inspiring people to build their capacity for innovation and resiliency. https://www.linkedin.com/in/daisymagnus/ 

Jim Correll

Jim Correll just may have figured out the biggest secret to business success, and it didn’t require an advanced business degree to do it. Instead, it’s been a matter of following his instincts, sponging up knowledge from thought leaders, making mistakes and pursuing passions in a wildly diverse 25-year career working in small business, manufacturing, entrepreneurial ventures and post-secondary education. What has he learned? When your mind is open to possibility rather than paralyzed by pessimism, amazing things can happen. Jim works as a business coach, entrepreneur  mentor and director of Fab Lab ICC at Independence (KS) Community College. 


What makes a good pitch?

How to Create an Elevator Pitch by Michael Hyatt

Not sure how your library fits into your community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem? Check out this conversation between Jenn Hensel, Assistant Director at Launch Greensboro and Morgan Ritchie-Baum, Co-Chair of the 2020 Entrepreneurship & Libraries conference, as they discuss the power of entrepreneurial ecosystems and how libraries and librarians can play a pivotal role in these systems.



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