Throw a pitch, catch one or just check out Startup Week to be inspired.

With baseball season around the corner, it's appropriate to plan now to catch a few pitches from some of the best prospects in Columbus' startup scene.

No fooling, you're going to want to jump online early on April 1 and check out all the details for the 3rd Columbus Startup Week. And just to whet your appetite, here's a bit of a preview.

One of the most exciting additions to this year's lineup will be the Columbus Startup Week Pitch Competition with $50,000 in prizes for the top three finishers. More on that in a minute.

Startup Week, you may recall, is a Monday-through-Friday entrepreneurial extravaganza to connect, educate and inspire those who operate startups as well as those who would like to join their ranks. Chase for Business is again the lead sponsor—not only for Columbus but for six similar events across the county. Techstars created Startup Week and now offers it in three dozen cities around the world.

Columbus Startup Week this year runs May 8-12, with most activities held at Vue, an event space in the Brewery District.

Leading off the week's events will be Columbus rock star entrepreneur Matt Scantland, who made international news with the $1.1 billion January sale of his creative prior-authorization software enterprise, CoverMyMeds, to global health distributor McKesson. I will have the pleasure of interviewing him on the stage for his May 8 opening keynote, and I am really looking forward to it!

The nightcap of a busy first day of Startup Week features the first Columbus Startup Week Pitch Competition. Dispatch Media Group, which publishes this magazine as well as The Columbus Dispatch, is putting up $50,000 worth of advertising services to the winners—$25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second and $10,000 for third.

Six finalists in the contest will each have four minutes to make presentations on why their companies should win, followed by six minutes of questions from a panel of judges with a wealth of experience in weighing investment-worthiness of new ventures. During the pitches, judges will look for evidence of strong teams, growth potential and unique approaches. Then for an exciting finish, judges will huddle and announce the winners.

Confirmed as judges are Mark Kvamme of Drive Capital, Rich Langdale of NCT Ventures and Craig Chambers of Ohio Third Frontier, also known as deputy chief of the office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the Ohio Development Services Agency. I'm the lightweight on the judges' panel but happy to lend whatever I can to the exercise.

To enter that competition—and take full advantage of the DMG promotional prizes with ThriveHive and Propel Marketing—new central Ohio companies must already be established with a product or service that would benefit from increased ad exposure. Companies that want to make pitches have until April 17 to complete applications at cmhpitchcompetition.com.

Chase for Business' backing, also in its third year, allows the events to be free and open to all to celebrate and inspire entrepreneurship. Registration to attend Columbus Startup Week begins April 1 at columbus.startupweek.co. Before then, you can sign up at that site for email alerts as plans are finalized.

I look forward to seeing you at Vue on May 8 and throughout Columbus Startup Week!