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Pitch Competition

About Accelerate

The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) is excited to introduce Accelerate, a pioneering pitch competition dedicated to fostering innovative solutions for adult learners at public urban research universities across the United States. 

Accelerate aims to bring together creative minds and visionaries at USU institutions who are passionate about addressing the unique challenges faced by adult learners in our higher education system. We believe that by harnessing the power of research-backed ideas and innovative thinking, we can create tangible, positive changes for this critical demographic. 

Our focus is on elevating and advancing groundbreaking ways to support adult learners, with an emphasis on solutions grounded in research. We understand that universities may need investment and financial resources to either create or scale their programs, so awards through the Accelerate competition will help launch a new initiative or help grow an existing program for adult learners. 

We invite employees at USU member institutions to submit a pitch video of no more than 5 minutes, describing your idea to support adult learners. 


  1. Participants must be employed at a USU Member Institution 

  2. Participants must have completed at least one Component of the Urban Adult Learner Institute (UALI) by the time of submission 

Urban View



The winning team will receive $10,000 to support the pitched initiative. Funds may only be used for efforts within the scope of the original pitch. USU will distribute one award for this competition. Prize money will be disbursed directly to the USU institution of the winning team. 

Submission Guidelines

  1. Register for UALI and Complete at least One Component

  2. Submit the Accelerate: Intent to Compete form by February 1, 2024 

  3. Create a video of no more than 5 minutes 

  4. Send .mov file of submission to by April 1, 2024 

Judging Criteria



Wednesday, November 1, 2023:

Launch Webinar

(recording located in UALI Google Drive)

Thursday, February 1, 2024:

Accelerate: Intent to Compete Form Due

(located in the UALI Google Drive) 

Monday, April 1, 2024:

Pitch Videos Due to

Wednesday, May 1, 2024:

Winner Announced and Prize Awarded 

Contact Information

For any questions, comments, or concerns regarding Accelerate or the Urban Adult Learner Institute (UALI), please email

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