The Palmetto Cup

A fast-paced pitch competition you don’t want to miss

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Submit your pitch

SC Cities Go Head-To-Head at the Palmetto Cup

The long history of the Palmetto Cup dates back to a time when South Carolina entrepreneurs and innovators were at their peak – 2023.

The Palmetto Cup is a new, annual pitch competition by the Growth Summit aiming to raise awareness of growth-stage startups in the Palmetto State. Companies from SC cities will compete to showcase their startups, highlighting their positive impact on the community and promoting a sense of pride and camaraderie. A little healthy competition never hurt!

If you’re a high-growth founder, now’s your chance to make your “ask” to South Carolina’s largest entrepreneurial conference.

The winning city of the Palmetto Cup will proudly display the trophy for a year until the next year’s Growth Summit.

Win or lose, everyone’s a winner here. We’ll be raising our glasses to toast the achievements of SC’s rising stars.

Submission Process:

Using the Palmetto Cup submission link found here, submit your 60-second pitch recording by Oct 13 at 5pm.

ESO’s can recommend up to three sponsored companies to represent their region.
Startups do NOT have to be sponsored by an ESO to apply for the Palmetto Cup.

The top 30 finalists will be notified by October 20 at 5pm.

Optional (but highly encouraged) pitch workshops will be offered by GrowCo Columbia during the month of October. Dates for these workshops will be provided only to the 30 finalists and will be determined at a later date.

The 30 finalists will pitch on the main stage during the Growth Summit on Thursday, November 2, in 60-second lightning round pitch format (i.e. mic pass back with no breaks between pitches). The Growth Summit audience will vote for their top 5 companies, and the top 5 will go on to the second round of pitches on Friday, November 3 on the main stage with a 5-minute pitch.

A panel of judges will select the winner of the Palmetto Cup from the Top 5 finalists, and we’ll award the Palmetto Cup at the culmination of the Growth Summit.

Submit Your Pitch


Eligible companies who wish to apply should meet all of the following requirements:

  • Founders of high-growth startups with headquarters in South Carolina.
  • Founders must be an original founding member of the company.
  • Have had verifiable annual revenues of $100,000 since incorporation OR have been in business for two years or more as of October 1, 2023 with $50,000 in annual revenue
  • Founders or company owner’s primary residence must be in SC.

Judges will use 5 categories to determine which founders will be finalists: team competencies, market size, opportunities for growth, originality and pitch. For more details on the judging criteria click here.

Judging Criteria