DANVILLE, Va. – Awards totaling $20,000 are up for grabs at The Launch Place‘s annual Big Launch Challenge pitch competition in Danville,  this week. A group of 10 startups are set to present their businesses in front of a panel of well-known judges.

The companies, most of which are based in North Carolina, are developing tech solutions within a range of industries, including supply chain management, digital health, finance, power supply and wearable devices.

First Flight Venture Center, a startup hub in Research Triangle Park, N.C., is a partner with The Launch Place.

This year’s Big Launch Challenge, the fifth annual pitch competition of its kind, features a new face serving as judge and keynote speaker—serial investor and entrepreneur Paul Singh, founder of Disruption Corporation.

Singh will be spending the week in Danville along his yearly American Tech Tour, in which he travels around the U.S. and Canada to meet tech hubs and startups emerging outside of Silicon Valley. After Danville, the next stop in Singh’s journey will be Wilmington on November 9-10.

At the Big Launch Challenge, Singh will present a lunchtime keynote and join a panel of four other judges:

After hearing the companies’ pitches, the judges will decide the winners. An award of $15,000 will go to the first-place winner. The runner-up will receive $5,000.

The presenting companies include:

The Big Launch Challenge is one of two pitch events held by the Launch Place every year. Idea Fest, a competition between 20 startup teams, took place back in March.

Last year’s Big Launch Challenge winner was VitalFlo, a digital health startup in Raleigh that’s developing a spirometer device and analytics platform to help asthma patients manage their symptoms and medications. After winning the 2017 Big Launch Challenge, VitalFlo founders (pictured in the headline photo above) received a $75,000 investment from the Launch Place’s pre-seed fund.

The opportunity to expand exposure and gain backing from the Launch Place is a key component to this competition.

The Launch Place CEO and President Eva Doss wrote in a statement, “The goal of the Big Launch Challenge is to provide early-stage startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors, and for The Launch Place Pre-Seed and Seed Fund to generate deal flow.”

“Every year it is a different experience, with different business ideas and founding teams, and I look forward to hearing the pitches,” Doss added.

Big Launch Challenge 2018 will be held November 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. Registration is free, but attendees must register here.