Post Last Updated April 22nd, 2024

No matter what stage your business venture is at, conferences and conventions are a key way to expand your network, hear about opportunities, and keep up with current and emerging trends in your industry. Alternatively, pitch competitions are a great way to gain funding for your business.

Because these two event-driven opportunities are so vital to the entrepreneurial process, we’ve compiled a list of conferences and pitch competitions in the United States. Many are exclusively for veterans and military spouses, but there are also many listed that are open to all ventures, or those within specific industries. Be sure to read closely and check the event’s website. Our hope is that it can help you plan your year and make you aware of nearby events that can make a difference for your venture.

Some of the events listed have not yet finalized dates or locations. We have listed the traditional time of year and location for those events, but it is subject to change. For pitch competitions, keep in mind the applications tend to open a few months before the competition. Keep checking the event’s website for the most up-to-date details.

Are We Missing a Conference or Pitch Competition?

If there is a great conference or pitch competition for veterans and military spouses that isn’t listed below, feel free to let us know! Leave a comment below with the name of the event, the 2025/2025 dates, and a link to the website, and we’ll be sure to update the list.

May Conferences & Pitch Competitions

B2B Chicago Conference

E-commerce & digital marketing B2B networking conference for manufacturers and distributors.

Website: https://b2bmarketing.wbresearch.com/ 
Dates: May 6-8, 2024
Location: Chicago Marriott Downtown, Chicago, IL

RSA Conference

This cybersecurity-focused conference includes an innovation sandbox challenge that can put you in front of investors and their Shark Tank-Style Launchpad contest. Apps for both are traditionally due early Feb.

Website: https://www.rsaconference.com/usa
Dates: May 6-9, 2024
Location: Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA

National Veteran Small Business Coalition VETS’24 Conference

The VETS24 Conference is NVSBC’s premier annual event and the largest federal small business procurement event of its kind being held in-person in 2024. The VETS24 Conference enables business networking between procurement-ready small business suppliers and buyers from both Federal agencies and large GovCon prime contractors.

Website: https://s6.goeshow.com/nvsbc/vets/2024/
Dates: May 20-23, 2024 (sponsor and exhibitor applications open now!)
Location: Rosen Center, Orlando, FL

Capital Camp

Investors and entrepreneurs meet in a summer camp atmosphere that fills the spaces between traditional conference activities with summer-camp style activities for unique meet and greets.

Website: https://www.capitalcamp.com/
Dates: May 21-23, 2024
Location: Columbia, MO

MedCity Invest Conference

INVEST unites active investors with corporate business development executives to facilitate investment opportunities with the most promising healthcare startups

Website: https://medcityinvestconference.com/invest/
Dates: May 21-24, 2024
Location: Ritz Carlton, Chicago, IL

StartUp World Cup Pitch Competition

Major pitch event where 2,500+ startups compete across 60+ regional events for a spot at the grand finale and a million dollar investment prize. 2024 Regional Events in LA April 30, Baton Rouge May 9, Minneapolis June 10, Silicon Valley Aug 1, Indianapolis Aug 27, Boston Aug 28, Albuquerque Sep 5, St. Louis Sep 9, Miami Sep 14, Reno Sep 18, Phoenix Sep 20, New York, Birmingham, Chicago, Orlando, Austin, and Sacramento [no dates yet])

Website: https://www.startupworldcup.io/
Dates: Finale Event October 4 (apps traditionally open in May)
Location: San Francisco, CA

June Conferences

MozCon Conference

A marketing conference that includes “non-stuffy networking and expert sessions delivered by industry leaders in SEO, search marketing, mobile, conversion optimization, local search, and more”.

Website: https://moz.com/mozcon
Dates: June 3-4, 2024
Location: Washington D.C., Wooly Mammoth Theater Company

TechCrunch Strictly VC

StrictlyVC events deliver exclusive insider VC content while creating meaningful connections with leading investors & leaders in tech. Join us for an evening of intimate interviews with industry heavy hitters and impactful conversation.

Website: https://techcrunch.com/events/strictlyvc-washington-d-c/ 
Dates: June 11, 2024
Location: Seattle Convention Center, Seattle, WA

SubSummit Conference & Pitch Competition

Conference for subscription-based services, featuring Netflix, Google, and the NBA, with $50,000 pitch competition, as well as a workshop and program track for subscription entrepreneurs.

Website: https://subsummit.com/
Dates: June 17-19, 2024
Location: Sheraton Hotel, Dallas, TX

Deloitte Entrepreneurial Summit

Networking event focused on connecting entrepreneurs and investors.

Website: https://www2.deloitte.com/xa/en/pages/corporate-finance/events/entrepreneur-summit.html
Dates: June 4, 2024
Location: Omni Hotel Downtown Dallas, TX

July Conferences

Veteran Shark Tank Applications Open

This shark tank-style event traditionally has a $50,000 grand prize, but can also lead to investment offers.

Website: https://veteransharktank.com/ (no 2024 info posted yet, but announced on social media)
Dates: Dec 9th, to kick off Army/Navy Football Week, Applications traditionally open in July
Location: CYTO/PHL in Philadelphia, PA

South x Southwest (SXSW) Conference Applications Open

This mammoth conference is best known as an arts festival with an A-list musician lineup, but it has robust programming tracks for startups, tech, healthcare, transportation, and other industries.

Website: https://www.sxsw.com/conference/startups (or click the conference tab for other program tracks)
Dates: Mar 8-11, 2025, Applications for Panels and Showcases, and pitch applications traditionally open in July
Location: Austin, TX

August Conferences

Black Hat USA Conference

A cybersecurity-focused conference with robust trainings, briefings, tool demos, and networking.

Website: https://www.blackhat.com/us-24/
Dates: August 3-8, 2024
Location: Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV, and virtual

Department of the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Conference

An opportunity to meet key government and industry contracting personnel through one-on-one matchmaking sessions, a hallmark of the event. The exhibit floor, has over 200 government agencies and industry organizations with procurement needs, including the ten Navy Systems Commands.

Website: https://www.navygoldcoast.org/
Dates: Aug 19-21, 2024
Location: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA

Rally Innovation Conference

Billed as the “largest global cross-sector innovation experience,” this event also features a “Rally In Prize” pitch competition for up to 1mm in investments. You can sign up now to get alerts for when applications are live.

Website: https://rallyinnovation.com/
Dates: Aug 27-28, 2024
Location: Indianapolis, IN

September Conferences & Pitch Competitions

AWBC Leadership Conference

This annual conference is put on by the Association of Women’s Business Centers, a nonprofit representing 100+ locations dedicated to women’s entrepreneurship.

Website: https://awbc.org/2024-leadership-conference/
Dates: Sep 10-12, 2024
Location: Kansas City, MO

SA Tech Fuel Pitch Competition Applications Open

A tech startup pitch competition with a $100,000 grand prize for Texas companies.

Website: https://satechbloc.com/tech-fuel/ (no 2024 information available)
Dates: Typically early October, Applications typically open in August/September
Location: San Antonio, TX

TFX Capital Annual Veteran Startup Showcase Pitch Competition

No firm dates yet, but traditionally has prizes totaling over $100,000.

Website: https://tfxcap.com/ (no 2024 information available)
Dates: Traditionally September/October
Location: Charlotte, NC

LG Nova Mission for the Future Pitch Competition Application

Traditionally selects up to 40 winners across 7 program tracks to work with LG for up to $100,000 investments or even 7-figure partnerships

Website: https://www.lgnova.com/ (No 2024 information available)
Dates: Apps traditionally run Sep-October, winners traditionally announced at CES in January
Location: Las Vegas, NV

ASBDC “Reimagine Mainstreet” Annual Conference

Roughly 1,200 attendees will gather in Nashville for five days to participate in 200+ workshops and attend keynotes from the founder of Shazam Chris Barton and Administrator of the SBA Isabel Casillas Guzman of the SBA .

Website: https://americassbdc.org/conference-2023/  (no 2024 information available)
Dates: Typically early September
Location: Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Nashville, TN

3686 Festival Powered by Launch Tennessee Conference

This is LaunchTN’s entrepreneur festival, with a variety of programming that will feature leading entrepreneurs, tech entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists.  Additionally, Bunker Labs community members are eligible for a $50 discount for tickets to the event when they buy online using general discount code “NP103686“.

Website: https://attend3686.com/
Dates: September 9-11 (early bird half price tickets available through May 19)
Location: Nashville, TN

October Conferences & Pitch Competitions

IVMF V-Wise

Blurring the lines between training program and conference, Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) was created to empower women veterans and military spouses/partners to find their passion and learn the business savvy skills necessary to turn an idea or start-up into a growing venture.

Website: https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/programs/entrepreneurship/start-up/v-wise/ (Apply now!)
Dates: Traditionally twice a year in April and October
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

CultureCon

Networking event targeting entrepreneurs of color that also features celebrity-studded launches and activations

Website: https://www.culturecon.theccnyc.com/
Dates: October 5-6, 2024
Location: Traditionally Los Angeles, CA

Content Marketing World

This is THE conference for content marketers and is brought to you by the folks at Content Marketing Institute. Meet other content marketers and learn from 150+ industry leading speakers.

Website: https://www.contentmarketingworld.com/
Dates: Oct 21-23, 2024
Location: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA

TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

At this tech-focused founder summit, you’ll get actionable advice and takeaways from top experts, meet other entrepreneurs taking similar journeys, share your own experiences and build the confidence to take the next steps towards growing your business. New program tracks for business built around AI, FinTech, Hardware, SaaS, Security, and Sustainability.

Website: https://techcrunch.com/events/tc-disrupt-2024/
Dates: October 28-30, 2024
Location: San Francisco, CA

Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference

BBBC is a 3-day business development and entrepreneur education experience for veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs

Website: https://bbbc.uta.edu/
Dates: October 31-November 2, 2024
Location: Arlington, TX

Startup Mountain Summit

“Join startup founders from across the Southeast for 3 days of inspiration, education, and networking. Learn from the best speakers in the startup industry and take your startup to the next level.”

Website: https://startupmountainsummit.com/ (No 2024 info yet)
Dates: Traditionally Late October
Location: Johnson City, Tennessee

SNVCC VetFest

This event is put on by the Southern Nevada Chamber of Commerce for veteran and military family entrepreneurs.
Website: https://snvcc.regfox.com/snvcc-vetfest (no 2024 info yet)
Dates: Traditionally late October
Location: Traditionally the lawn at downtown Summerlin, NV (western Las Vegas)

Tech Up For Women West Coast Conference Application

The Tech Up For Women Conference is a hub of inspiration, idea exchange, and advocacy around the issue of the advancement of women through technology.

Website: https://techupforwomen.com/tech-up-sandiego/
Dates: Typically early March, event registration typically opens October
Location: San Diego, CA

November Conferences

Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Small Business Conference

SAME’s Federal Small Business Conference creates the biggest and best event connecting small businesses directly with federal government procurement decision makers, contracting officers, small business liaison officers, and leaders. The event brings together small businesses with large businesses that have teaming and sub-contracting opportunities in support of government work.

Website: https://www.samesbc.org/
Dates: Nov 20-22, 2024
Location: New Orleans, LA, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Military Influencer Conference (MIC)

A conference for veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Last year the Veteran Fund held a $100,000 pitch competition, and Second Service Foundation held a $25,000 pitch competition at MIC. Both competitions are expected to happen at MIC again in 2023.

Website: https://militaryinfluencer.com/
Dates: Sep 29-Oct 3, 2024
Location: Signia by Hilton, Atlanta, GA

Tech Up For Women NYC Conference

The Tech Up For Women Conference is a hub of inspiration, idea exchange, and advocacy around the issue of the advancement of women through technology.

Website: https://techupforwomen.com/event-details/ (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: November 12, 2024
Location: NYC, NY, Clinton Mercantile Event Hall

8th Annual Veterans in Business (VIB) National Conference

This conference is designed to help Veteran businesses build connections between Corporations, Government Agencies, and Primes looking to create partnerships for contracting opportunities, putting you in front of key buyers and suppliers throughout the two-day event

Website: https://www.vibnetwork.org/ (no 2024 information available)
Dates: Typically mid November, (Registration typically opens in May)
Location: San Diego, CA

December Pitch Competitions

Veteran Shark Tank

This shark tank-style event traditionally has a $50,000 grand prize, but can also lead to investment offers.

Website: https://veteransharktank.com/ (no 2024 info posted yet, but announced on social media)
Dates: Dec 9th, to kick off Army/Navy Football Week, Applications traditionally open in July
Location: Traditionally CYTO/PHL in Philadelphia, PA

New England Venture Summit

“Where innovation meets capital”, this summit aims to bring together VC capital with innovative ventures.

Website: https://youngstartup.com/events/nevs23 (no 2024 info yet)
Dates: Typically mid Dec
Location: Typically Boston Dedham, MA

January 2025 Conferences & Pitch Competitions

Affiliate Summit West (ASW) Conference

At ASW, you’ll find thousands of partners of all shapes and sizes, from mass media publishers and bloggers, to coupon and cashback websites, to other brands with the same goals as you, to innovative technology partners.

Website: https://www.affiliatesummit.com/west?
Dates: Feb 3-5, 2025
Location: Caesar’s Forum, Las Vegas, NV

SubSummit Pitch Competition Application

$50,000 pitch competition for subscription-based services

Website: https://subsummit.com/pitch-competition/ (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Event is traditionally mid June, app deadline traditionally late Jan
Location: Traditionally Dallas, TX

FedEx Small Business Pitch Competition Application

Traditionally, 10 grand prize winners receive $30,000 in grant money, and one will be a US veteran, who receives an additional $20,000, another 10 “people’s choice” selections receive $1,000 in prize money

Website: https://www.fedex.com/en-us/small-business/grant-contest.html (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Apps traditionally open Jan-Feb, winners usually announced in May
Location: Virtual via pitch video

11th Rice Business/Jones Graduate School of Business Veterans Business Battle Pitch Competition Application

Shark Tank-style event that historically has $30,000 in prizes, and has extended $5mm in investment offers to veteran entrepreneurs since 2015

Website: https://business.rice.edu/veterans-business-battle (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Traditionally mid April (applications traditionally close mid Feb)
Location: Rice University, Houston, TX

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition Application

This education-focused business and non-profit pitch competition awards $80,000 in prize money among four top finishers.

Website: https://www.educationcompetition.org/competition-details (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Applications traditionally open late Jan, semi-finalists traditionally announced in May, finalists in September, Pitch Competition in October
Location: Traditionally Philadelphia, PA

February Conferences & Pitch Competitions

MilVet Startups Conference

A great event celebrating the military veteran entrepreneur ecosystem, Bunker Labs has attended in force in the past (check out CEO Blake Hogan in the intro video!)

Website: https://www.milvetstartups.com/
Dates: Feb 5-6, 2025
Location: San Francisco, CA, Marines’ Memorial Club

DistribuTech International Conference

A conference related to smart cities and tech startups that reshape cities

Website: https://www.distributech.com/welcome
Dates: Mar 24-27, 2025
Location: Dallas, TX, Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center

FedEx Small Business Pitch Competition Application

Traditionally, 10 grand prize winners receive $30,000 in grant money, and one will be a US veteran, who receives an additional $20,000, another 10 “people’s choice” selections receive $1,000 in prize money

Website: https://www.fedex.com/en-us/small-business/grant-contest.html (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Apps traditionally open Jan-Feb, winners usually announced in May
Location: Virtual via pitch video

Arch Grants Pitch Competition Application

Open only to St. Louis-based companies (or those willing to relocate) for a $75,000 grant

Website: https://archgrants.org/competition/
Dates: Typically Aug, Applications typically open Jan-Mar
Location: St Louis, MO

March Conferences

Tech Up For Women West Coast Conference

The Tech Up For Women Conference is a hub of inspiration, idea exchange, and advocacy around the issue of the advancement of women through technology.

Website: https://techupforwomen.com/tech-up-sandiego/ (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Traditionally early March
Location: San Diego, CA

South x Southwest (SXSW) Conference

This mammoth conference is best known as an arts festival with an A-list musician lineup, but it has robust programming tracks for startups, tech, healthcare, transportation, and other industries.

Website: https://www.sxsw.com/conference/startups (or click the conference tab for other program tracks)
Dates: Mar 8-11, 2025, Applications for Panels and Showcases, and pitch applications traditionally open in July
Location: Austin, TX

Adobe Summit Conference

The Digital Experience Conference is the premier event for digital marketers and advertisers to learn about and share key strategies for driving marketing innovation.

Website: https://summit.adobe.com/na/ (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Typically late Mach
Location: Las Vegas, NV

Veteran EDGE Conference

Hosted by the D’aniello Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University for veterans and military spouses, aimed at growth stage companies ready to scale or scaling.

Website: https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/programs/entrepreneurship/growth/veteran-edge/ (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Typically late March
Location: Typically Dallas, TX

VetsinTech Invasion

A virtual event for veterans in tech with separate program tracks for employment, education, and entrepreneurship

Website: https://events.vetsintech.co/invasion2024/ (no information available for 2025 yet)
Dates: Typically late Mar
Location: Virtual

April Conferences & Pitch Competitions

IVMF V-Wise

Blurring the lines between training program and conference, Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) was created to empower women veterans and military spouses/partners to find their passion and learn the business savvy skills necessary to turn an idea or start-up into a growing venture.

Website: https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/programs/entrepreneurship/start-up/v-wise/ (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Traditionally twice a year in April and October
Location: Traditionally Moves Each Year

Harrisburg Multicultural Small Business Lab Pitch Competition

M&T Bank searches for 50 entrepreneurs to participate in its annual Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Lab, a seven-week program, in partnership with the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (CIE), that focuses on business planning, establishing credit, accessing capital, marketing, branding and networking. The has courses held weekly each Wednesday evening at Harrisburg University and concludes with a pitch competition to win grants totaling $12k, including $6k for first place, $4k for second place and $2k for third place, all funded by M&T.

Website: https://www3.mtb.com/harrisburglab (no information available for 2025 yet)
Dates: Applications open typically in Apr, Program runs May-June
Location: Harrisburg, PA

Startup Grind Global Conference

The Startup Exhibition is an annual showcase of startups from around the world who are building the next big thing. There are opportunities to pitch (apply on website now), get exposure, meet with investors and potential partners, and more.

Website: https://startupgrind.tech/conference/ (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Traditionally late April
Location: Silicon Valley, CA

TechCrunch Early Stage Conference

At this one-day founder summit, you’ll get actionable advice and takeaways from top experts, meet other entrepreneurs taking similar journeys, share your own experiences and build the confidence to take the next steps towards growing your business.

Website: https://techcrunch.com/events/ (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Traditionally late April
Location: Traditionally Boston, MA

11th Rice Business/Jones Graduate School of Business Veterans Business Battle Pitch Competition Application

Shark Tank-style event that historically has $30,000 in prizes, and has extended $5mm in investment offers to veteran entrepreneurs since 2015

Website: https://business.rice.edu/veterans-business-battle (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Traditionally mid April (applications traditionally close mid Feb)
Location: Rice University, Houston, TX

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

This education-focused business and non-profit pitch competition awards $80,000 in prize money among four top finishers.

Website: https://www.educationcompetition.org/competition-details (no 2025 info yet)
Dates: Applications traditionally open late Jan, semi-finalists traditionally announced in May, finalists in September, Pitch Competition in October
Location: Traditionally Philadelphia, PA

Did We Miss Something?

If there is a great conference or pitch competition for veterans and military spouses that isn’t listed above, feel free to let us know! Leave a comment below with the name of the event, the 2023 dates, and a link to the website, and we’ll be sure to update the list.

Bunker Labs is Now Part of IVMF

As of January 2024, Bunker Labs is now a part of Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). In addition to ongoing Bunker Labs programming, we’d encourage you to browse IVMF’s deep wealth of entrepreneurship programming, much of it available virtually or at locations across the country. Find the program to help your business take the next step today!