Skip Navigation
Menu OpenMenu
Content Scroll
Scroll Icon


Topeka, KS – The Greater Topeka Partnership and GO Topeka are excited to announce the 2023 Equity and Opportunity Pitch Competition, providing a chance for Shawnee County’s aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups to present their innovative ideas to some of the area’s business decision makers. The competition will award four prizes to winners, with a total of $38,000 in prize money available to jump start their ventures.

The 2023 Equity and Opportunity Pitch Competition will be held from 5:30-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16 at the Greater Topeka Partnership, 719 S. Kansas Ave. Each participant will have seven minutes to pitch their business idea that evening. Growing and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to participate in the event should submit their entry for the competition here by Nov. 3, providing basic contact information and details about their business concept. Pitch coaching will be provided to applicants ahead of the competition.

In 2022, The Partnership’s Minority and Women Business Development Pitch Competition brought together local business leaders and optimistic newcomers for an event that helped push business forward for all of Shawnee County. Four winners were selected to receive cash prizes that helped provide both startup capital and funds to expand current operations.

Although startup activity continues to increase, a disparity in entrepreneurship rates among women and people of color remains an issue. Often, these aspiring business owners remain underrepresented in their chosen fields and have lower rates of success in their industries due to a variety of factors both nationally and locally.

“While many people wish to start their own businesses, entrepreneurship does not always become a reality, especially for people of color,” said Tobias Harvey, chair of the Topeka/Shawnee County Small Business Council. “Many times, these individuals are already facing greater challenges when it comes to financial stability, homeownership, and family or health issues that can stifle professional growth.”

The 2023 Equity and Opportunity Pitch Competition aims to provide support for these individuals by supplying a platform for them to gain greater exposure to entrepreneurship. The competition is also designed to increase visibility of the barriers and disadvantages diverse entrepreneurs are working to overcome today.

“This opportunity was nothing short of life altering on multiple levels,” said Dane Shobe, who placed second in the 2022 pitch competition. “Not only did it allow me to take my dream from concept to reality; it also validated my belief that there was value in what I sought to do, and for that and more, I will always be grateful.”

Other Opportunities during Global Entrepreneurship Week

  • Tuesday 11/14
    • Ichabods of Industry, Washburn University – Ken Schmanke
      • Established in 1993, the Wake Up with Washburn breakfast lecture series has been re-branded in 2023 to Ichabods of Industry, nodding to the topics covered in the lecture series and providing flexibility on when the event is held. The lecture series is co-sponsored by the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation and the Washburn University School of Business and provides a forum for alumni lecturers to enlighten the audience about their career, accomplishments, impact in Topeka, and how Washburn had a positive impact on them.
      • Register Here



  • Wednesday 11/15
    • Kansas Women in Business Conference, Kansas Chamber – Presented by GO Topeka



  • Thursday 11/16
    • Propeller End of Year Celebration
      • Join us at our end-of-year celebration to discover what GO Topeka’s Propeller program is all about. Keynote speaker Tara Dimick will be offering invaluable insights, and attendees will get to hear firsthand from Propeller’s remarkable mentors and mentees as they share their business journeys. This lunch experience will also feature Mayor Michael Padilla, who will be present to deliver Topeka’s Small Business Saturday Proclamation, underscoring the community’s commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs.
      • Register Here


    • Equity and Opportunity Pitch Contest, GO Topeka
      • The contest is an opportunity for women and minority entrepreneurs in Shawnee County to present their ideas during a pitch competition. A panel of accredited judges will select at least three winners from the competition, who will together be awarded cash prizes totaling $38,000. 



About GO Topeka


GO Topeka creates county-wide economic success for all companies and citizens through implementation of an aggressive economic-development strategy that capitalizes on the unique strengths of the community. GO Topeka operates under the Greater Topeka Partnership and is the leading economic development agency in the area. For more, visit

About Greater Topeka Partnership


The Greater Topeka Partnership brings together community organizations that promote economic development and quality of life in Topeka and Shawnee County. They include Downtown Topeka Inc., GO Topeka, the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, and Visit Topeka Inc. For more, visit