HBCU Spirit

spiritED innovation lab

The Spirited Innovation Lab is a business design and innovation competition fueled by Pronghorn to support rising Black entrepreneurs with interest in the spirits industry.


Create a new business idea for the spirits industry (brand development, production, design, or any related innovation). It is recommended that you use this 10-slide pitch deck structure; however you may compile your slides in any way you choose.

Up to 10 teams will have the opportunity to pitch solutions in a regional competition. Selected finalist teams will have the opportunity to present to a panel of executive leaders and influencers in the spirits industry.

Finalists receive $10K and attend the Spirits Creative Showcase in Miami, FL.
The winning group will receive an additional $15K for a total of $25K.

young student


  • Undergraduate students (21+ years of age by June 1, 2023), graduate student or recent HBCU alumni with a passion for creating change within the spirits industry

  • Groups can be a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students, from any major

  • Teams of 2-5 participants with at least two members being students or alumni of one of our HBCU partner colleges/universities

Submissions are closed for 2023. Please follow us @pronghorn.co on Instagram to see who wins and for future opportunities to participate!

Apply here

Important dates

  • february 17

    Application opens

  • april 7

    Updated deadline to submit Innovation Pitch Slides. Slides will be reviewed and notified on a first come, first served basis.

  • April 14

    Notification of Finals

  • April 28

    Final Pitch Presentation
    (Finalist teams' travel arrangements and costs covered by Pronghorn)



Winning Team


Semi-finalist teams

And an opportunity for winning brand innovation submissions to receive additional funding