Call for entries: $50k for media startups

The 2011 We Media PitchIt Challenge is open to entries. The challenge offers $50,000 in seed funding to help launch two innovative media and tech startups.

Finalists will pitch their ideas live before a panel of expert judges and attendees of the We Media NYC conference on April 6. Finalists also participate in a startup bootcamp and benefit from feedback and advice from a network of expert mentors. Two winners will each earn a $25,000 sponsorship to help launch their idea.

To enter the challenge, click here. To participate in the We Media NYC conference and watch the finals, click here.

The deadline to enter the challenge is Feb. 4, 2011. Online ratings and feedback help We Media organizers evaluate the submissions and select the finalists.

PitchIt is about ideas, not fully formed startups. It’s for would-be entrepreneurs who have bold visions for using media and technology to improve the human experience in the digital world. Unlike most innovation and startup challenges, PitchIt is open to both commercial and nonprofit ideas. Winners agree to share what they learn along the way and “pay it forward” by helping other entrepreneurs who follow in their footsteps. But they don’t give up any equity for the sponsorship.

The challenge is sponsored by the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

This is the fifth year for the challenge, and the third with cash offered to help the winners do something big with their big ideas. The We Media conference and PitchIt challenge are moving to New York this year after four years in Miami.

The conference provides a platform for founders and their ideas to take center stage. The judging criteria encourage bold ideas with a potential for social and commercial impact, and the challenge has helped launch some amazing companies. Previous winners included civic solutions platform SeeClickFix, independent music hub Audimated, news crowdsourcing app (still under development), and by The Extrordinairies, a microvolunteering platform.

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