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Maryland governor uses Pinterest for startup contest

Chalk this up as another wacky use of Pinterest: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is promoting a contest on the hot website where Maryland entrepreneurs can pitch their startups by pinning 10 images to the governor's board.

No kidding.

There's been a ton of chatter this year in Maryland about supporting tech startups. The state raised $84 million from tax credit sales that will be used to fund early stage startups. And today, at the University of Maryland College Park, the Startup America initiative for Maryland is kicking off.

There are all sorts of websites out there for entrepreneurs to pitch their startups. But the O'Malley administration is promoting this Pinterest effort as "the first ever business pitch contest on Pinterest." (The Baltimore Angels, a city-based group of a few dozen angel investors, are supporting the contest.)

So how does it work? The state website explains:

Contest Guidelines and Rules

  • Submissions will consist of a maximum of 10 images arranged on a Pinterest board.
  • Images must be credited to the source and follow all copyright rules.
  • This contest is restricted to Maryland residents, students attending a Maryland University or College and Maryland based businesses.
  • All submissions must be received by April 30, 2012 at 5 p.m. (Eastern).

Board Categories

Pitches must be made in one of the following two categories:

  • Student Entrepreneurs: This category is limited to students enrolled in a K-12 or post secondary program at a Maryland school, college and/or University.
  • Bootstrappers: This category is limited to people and organizations who have not have raised money outside of family and friends.

The Awards

  • Submissions will be showcased on Governor Martin O’Malley’s website. Boards and pins will be available for public comment.  
  • Following the public comment period, a panel of judges will select a first place and second place winner for each of the two categories.
  • First place winners will receive a MacBook Air and second place winners will receive an iPad courtesy of our generous partners at the Baltimore Angels. First place winners will also be featured on Governor Martin O’Malley’s official Pinterest page.

Suggested topics to include in your pitch

This is a brand new, innovative contest that’s never been done before. The possibilities are endless and our judges look forward to reviewing the pitches. Below are suggested (not required) topics to include in your pitch. Creativity and innovation will be viewed favorably. 

  1. What problem are you trying to solve?
  2. How big is your problem? Showcase addressable market size.
  3. What is your solution to the problem? What is the value proposition for the customer?
  4. Who are your competitors and why is your solution better?
  5. How will you make money? What are your revenue stream(s)? Marketing and distribution strategy?
  6. Who is your management team? What backgrounds and experiences do they bring?
  7. Is there a positive social impact? Show us.


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