Accelerate 2022 Pitch Competition: What You Need to Know

Accelerate is Cleveland Leadership Center’s high-energy annual civic pitch competition.

Accelerate is Cleveland Leadership Center’s high-energy annual civic pitch competition. This Shark Tank-style event gives individuals across Northeast Ohio the chance to win seed money to help launch their idea and make the region a better place.

Accelerate 2022 Starts Now

Sponsored by Citizens Bank, Accelerate 2022 will take place on Thursday, February 24, 2022. But the excitement begins months earlier.

From November 1 to December 3, 2021, anyone with an idea to improve the Greater Cleveland community can submit a pitch application addressing a pitch category that focuses on a specific topic.

Accelerate Pitch Categories

An independent panel of reviewers selects five proposals from distinct categories to pitch at the event. The applicants present their ideas at the event to a panel of community leaders. They judge and choose one finalist in each category.

The six finalists pitch again to the full audience, which votes on the winning pitch. The winner receives $5,000, and the remaining five finalists each receive $2,000 to put toward their ideas.

The six Accelerate pitch categories are:

Authentic Cleveland Experiences

Providing residents and visitors with immersive and emotionally impressive experiences that evoke the essence of Cleveland.

Economic Prosperity

Strengthening individual pathways for employment and financial success.


Advancing access, readiness, and success for pre-k through college students.

Health & Well-being

Anyone with a great idea for Cleveland can submit a pitch application in one of the six Accelerate pitch categories.

Promoting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals and their communities.

Quality of Life

Improving lives through art, culture, the environment, and community improvement projects.

Social Change

Increasing equity, access, and opportunities within communities.

Another Pitch Opportunity: Technovation

Accelerate is such a dynamic event, we can’t limit it to just one pitch competition!

Technovation is a separate contest for ideas featuring a technology component. A $3,500 prize will be awarded to the most innovative technology idea.

Applicants may apply to pitch in one of the six categories Accelerate categories and in the Technovation competition. Applications for the Accelerate category competition and Technovation competition are evaluated separately.

Pitch Submission Process

Pitch applications are open via an online form through Friday, December 3, 2021.

Proposals need to address each of the following areas in 250 words or less:

  • A description of the initiative.
  • The community issue it addresses.
  • How it will benefit the community.
  • Why you are passionate about the issue.
  • How you will know if the initiative is successful.
  • How the prize money would help you achieve your goals.

Ideas cannot be affiliated with an established organization or business.

Submit Your Pitch Today

Be the change and make Cleveland a better place to live, work, and visit. Bring your vision for the region to life through Accelerate 2022.

Pitch an idea in one of the six Accelerate categories and/or Technovation today!

Explore Accelerate 2022