Launch your idea into a business

Dalton's Pitch Competition for Entrepreneurs

Our pitch competition is a contest for entrepreneurs of all ages. Entrepreneurs present their business idea(s) to a panel of judges in hope of winning a cash prize or investment. PitchDIA is held every 18-24 months as a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit of Dalton. Our goal is to help businesses start, dream, and thrive. Ready to apply? Click below to apply today. If you are a student, please click here to apply. 

PitchDIA 2022 Timeline

CritterBox

Meet the Semifinalists

Frequently Asked Questions

PitchDIA is a pitch competition for innovators of all ages. The 2022 competition is Tuesday, May 17th.

DIA is a small business resource center driven by seasoned entrepreneurs, professionals, and community volunteers, aimed at furthering entrepreneurial growth in the Dalton-Whitfield area. The accelerator was formed in 2017 with an initial goal of establishing an annual startup competition called PitchDIA. 

The primary goal of the PitchDIA competition is to further entrepreneurial growth in the North Georgia area. Not only will the winners of the competition enjoy prizes, participants will also benefit from significant exposure to seasoned businesspersons and professionals with deep connections in our community. Whether you’re an individual pitching an idea written on a back of a napkin, an experienced business with an R&D offshoot looking to launch, or a company already in the second round of fundraising … we believe your ideas have a place in this competition. Any startup located in Georgia in need of guidance, funding, or an “in” would definitely benefit from participating in PitchDIA, but many investors are planning to be in attendance regardless of your need for prizes.  

Yes! We encourage students to participate in the competition. We also encourage students to work with their schools to receive assistance and entrepreneurial education. 

The 2022 application will open December 6th, 2021. You may apply online. Please note your business should be located in Georgia to participate. 

The selection committee will take several factors into consideration including the market opportunity for the idea, the overall business model, the capabilities of you or your team, the story, and the strength of the product/service offering.  

Yes! The Dalton Innovation Accelerator offers pitch workshops and 1:1 assistance.

Investors will be in attendance, some are involved in the establishment of the competition itself while others (and their firms) attend for the competition itself. If you are an accredited investor and would like to attend, please contact Lauren Holverson, Executive Director. Accredited investors who RSVP will have additional materials made available to them during and after the event.

The best way to get involved in the pitch competition is by becoming a mentor, judge, or sponsor. Please contact Lauren Holverson, Executive Director.   

Yes! We encourage people from the community to attend. Selected applicants and their stakeholders, members of the Dalton Innovation Accelerator advisory board, judges, invited guests, invited investors, and guests who RSVP may be given priority over the general public if space becomes a concern. 

Please scroll below to download our sponsorship packet for 2022. You can complete and return the packet to Lauren Holverson. Please contact us with questions or to learn more. 

Meet Our 2022 Judges

MARILYN M HELMS, D.B.A., CFPIM, CIRM, CSCP, CLTD, CQM/OE

Dr. Marilyn M. Helms serves as the Dean and Sesquicentennial Chair and Professor of Supply Chain Management at Dalton State College’s (DSC) C. Lamar and Ann Wright School of Business (WSOB) in Dalton, Georgia.

Dr. Helms joined the DSC faculty in 2000 and works closely with the area business community and has served as Dean since 2017. She currently teaches the junior-level Professional Development class. Continue Reading…

CLAY KATZMAN, DYNAMO VENTURES

Clay graduated from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga with a degree in Business Analytics. While finishing his degree, Clay was a Marketing Analyst for Lift Media Group which fueled his entrepreneurial drive and creative spirit. He then spent time at FreightWaves serving as a Supply Chain Analyst before joining the Dynamo team last July. 

KATE FULLER, PRESIDENT OF ATTICUS IMPACT INVESTING

Kate Fuller is the Founder and President of Atticus Impact Investing LLC. Focused on making investments in small business startups in Appalachia, Atticus believes in the power of small town entrepreneurs to effect big change in their communities. Raised in London, Kate came to the United States to study at Cornell University. After graduating with honors in 2006, she spent a decade working in the oil and gas industry, handling contract negotiations, debt management, and crew matters for a Connecticut-based shipping agency, as well as the sale and purchase of large vessels. In 2018 she left that industry behind in order to focus on enriching and enhancing the North Georgia communities in which she is raising her family. She lives in Dade County Georgia with her husband, Clayton, and her two children.

PHILIP THOMAS, ACE COMMERCIAL LOAN OFFICER

Coming Soon

DAN KOUKOL, CEO OF KOUKOL CAPITAL

Dan is the founder of Koukol Capital, a private equity firm focused on early stage startups and small- to mid-market growth and turnaround opportunities in the Southeast.

Prior to founding Koukol Capital, Dan spent 2 years as CEO for Prodigy Disc, a disc golf company based in Dalton, GA. Before Prodigy, Dan spent 8 years consulting for over 80 organizations in multiple industries, ranging from $2 million to over $7 billion in annual revenue.

Dan graduated from Lee University with degrees in Business Management, Finance and Computer Information Systems.

In his spare time, Dan likes to read strategy, startup and business books and has read over 700 in the last 8 years.

Grand Prize winners will receive:

  • $3,500 Cash Prize
  • Dalton Innovation Accelerator Incubation Membership (18 Months)
  • Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce Membership (1 Year)
  • Marketing, Social Media, Accounting, and Strategic Planning guidance (provided by Dalton State College Wright School of Business)
  • 1 Year of Free Licensing for QuickBooks Online + Help with Setup (provided by Marcelli Bookkeeping Services)
  • Video Interview (Promotion) with GoodNews Christian Magazine
  • Personal Branding Photography Session with Bobbi Jo Brooks Fine Art & Photography
  • A quick start website package, including one year of free web hosting and up to 5 email accounts (provided by InventureIT)

Second Place winners will receive:

  • $1,500 Cash Prize
  • Dalton Innovation Accelerator Incubation Membership (12 Months)
  • Marketing, Social Media, Accounting, and Strategic Planning guidance (provided by Dalton State College Wright School of Business)
  • Guidance from and exposure to some of the community’s top entrepreneurs and professionals
  • A quick start website package, including one year of free web hosting (provided by InventureIT)

Third Place winners will receive:

  • $500 Cash Prize
  • Dalton Innovation Accelerator Co-working Membership (12 Months)
  • A quick start website package, including one year of free web hosting (provided by InventureIT)

Become a Sponsor

Interested in becoming a sponsor of PitchDIA 2022? Please download the Sponsorship Packet or complete the form. If you have questions, please contact us. You can complete and return the sponsorship packet to Lauren Holverson. We appreciate your partnership. 

Meet Our Sponsors

Premier

Innovator

Visionary

Forward Thinker

Angel