The Antlion Pit Competition is designed to empower ESA members to develop and present their innovative ideas for entomology-related products and services. The competition encourages the development of the entrepreneurial spirit through idea leadership, innovation, teamwork, and mentorship. Before the competition, participating individuals or teams will receive support in the form of mentorship and webinars to help them identify a user group, ideate problems and solutions, prototype, and test their innovations while competing for cash prizes. The venture idea may focus on a technology, product, process, service, or social venture.
The APC will take place in person during the ESA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, in two stages. Teams will be expected to be present at both events. Virtual submissions will be accepted for registered attendees of the ESA Annual Meeting Virtual Content.
Monday, November 1, 2021 - 12:30 – 2:30 PM Mountain Time
Stage I – APC Demonstration Day – Teams will participate in a two-hour informal interactive “exhibit hall” style event where they will present their ideas and prototypes to judges and interested meeting registrants. Each team will be given access to a table, floor space, and electricity. At least one ESA member on the team must be present during APC Demonstration Day.
Virtual participants will engage with the on-site participants via virtual chat. Handouts, signs, or physical prototypes may be sent in advance.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Mountain Time
Stage II – APC Presentation Pitch – Teams will be given five minutes to present their pitch, followed by eight minutes of questions from both the judges and the audience. A maximum of two individuals may be on stage to present, one of whom must be an ESA member. Each team should plan to attend the entire event. Teams will be able to upload their presentations in the presentation preview room and are also encouraged to bring prototypes, final designs, and/or presentation props as needed.
Virtual participants will be expected to provide their five-minute pre-recorded presentation in advance. These will be played and presented live on-site. Video chat options with the judges and questions from the audience will take place via a live video call during the presentation pitches.
*Please note that these dates and times are subject to change and will be finalized by mid-September. If there are insufficient submissions, the competition will not move forward.
Cash Prizes and Awards
There will be a Grand Prize of $5,000, a 2nd Place Prize of $2,500, and an Audience Favorite Award of $2,500. If, in the opinion of the judges, the proposed innovative ideas do not represent a favorable business opportunity or societal win, then the prize money or some portion of the prize money will not be awarded. Judges are under no obligation to award all—or any—of the prize money.
For any questions on the Antlion Pit Competition, please contact Dr. Marianne Alleyne or
Dr. Patti L. Prasifka
2019 Competition Winners
First Place - Zoe Getman-Pickering - LeafByte - View the presentation
Second Place - Tanner Matson - Matson Trap - View the presentation
Audience Favorite - Tanner Matson - Matson Trap- View the presentation