Rochester Venture Challenge

About the Rochester Venture Challenge

Rochester Venture Challenge is an annual startup business competition that encourages entrepreneurship and recognizes new, high growth ventures in the Greater Rochester Region.

Who should enter?
To participate in the Rochester Venture Challenge, companies must be for-profit and located in the nine-county Finger Lakes Region: Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties. Companies should have a scalable business concept with high growth potential. Companies must be early-stage, as defined at the time of application by having less than $250,000 of outside cash investment and less than $500,000 in cumulative revenue (excluding research grants).

What does it cost?
The application fee is $150 per company, up to two people, and includes four business building workshops. Attending the workshops is encouraged, but optional.

How does it work?

The competition begins with the four weekly business building workshops. These are designed to help companies write their executive summary and plan and create an investor presentation. Workshops are held on four Wednesday evenings from February 1, 2017 through February 22, 2017.

Executive Summary
Companies submit a five page executive summary as the first round of the competition Eight Semi-finalists will be selected in March. The semi-finalists submit a revised executive summary and give an investor presentation to a panel of judges. In the final round, five companies give a final presentation before a panel of notable Rochester entrepreneurial community members. The Rochester Venture Challenge culminates with an award ceremony at the annual Celebration of Entrepreneurship Luncheon in late April, with an audience of 300 attendees.

All contestants will receive a document with all the information needed to compete.

The Prizes
First Place: $25,000 cash and $5,000 rent credit at High Tech Rochester’s incubator/accelerator.
Second Place: $5,000 cash and $2,500 rent credit at High Tech Rochester’s incubator/accelerator.
Third Place: $2,500 cash and $1,000 rent credit at High Tech Rochester’s incubator/accelerator.

How Do I Enter?
The Rochester Venture Challenge is now closed for applications.

Just Want to Attend the Workshops?
Workshop registration is now closed.

Become a Sponsor
Sponsorships are available from $1,000 to $10,000. Help support entrepreneurship in our community!
Click here for Sponsor levels and benefits or contact Jackie Amigone at or 585-214-2402

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Design Sponsor


Printing Sponsor

ColorCentric Corporation

The Rochester Venture Challenge will not be held in 2018.

Rochester Venture Challenge logo
Rochester Venture Challenge winner 2016
Rochester Venture Challenge 2014 winner
Rochester Venture Challenge Celebration of Entrepreneurship Luncheon
Rochester Venture Challenge pitch
Rochester Venture Challenge judges