7 High School Entrepreneurship Competitions

Introducing the top 7 entrepreneurship competitions that students should pay attention to and potentially apply!
entrepreneurship competitions

The term entrepreneurship has popular recently, especially with the rise in popularity of TikTokSnapchat, and other Apps. Each day high school students start their brand online and advertise them on social media. A recent Nielsen study reports that 54% of Gen Z indicated they wanted to create their own company.   

Don’t feel intimidated by the term “entrepreneurship.” In the traditional sense, entrepreneurship is starting a new business. However, in the modern sense, entrepreneurship can be a mindset: the love for problem-solving, interest in business, and the inspiration for novel ideas. For students who are interested in entrepreneurship but don’t know where to start, we recommend you should start by reading our article “How to Start a Business during High School.” After you have a solid understanding, you can start by creating a business plan for your idea. Please continue reading for some information on entrepreneurship competitions for high school students. Our list of competitions includes the most prestigious entrepreneurship challenges across the United States and around the world.   

TOP 7 ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITIONS
1. Diamond Challenge
diamond challenge

Created by the University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship in 2012, the Diamond Challenge is backed by an academic grounding in state-of-the-art entrepreneurship education methodologies. Diamond Challenge is an innovative entrepreneurship competition for high school students, where they put creative ideas into action. Students submit and pitch their ideas to compete for cash awards. These awards may be used to support their startup, support their social venture, or pursue higher education.  

There are two tracks students can choose from: Business Innovation and Social Innovation. There’re five rounds in the competition: submission round, pitch round, 2 semi-final rounds, and final round.   

Examples of award-winning ideas:  

  • Astrofilter, self-cleaning filter designed to remove debris from spacecraft ventilation system (Business Innovation) 
  • Exhoheal, post-stroke robotic device with a doctor-patient communication app to help paralyzed patients recover 30% faster (Social Innovation) 

Award(s): Up to $100K in awards 

Participants: A team of 2-4 students between 14-18 years old from 1 or more high schools  

Registration fee: Free 

Deadline to submit: January 8, 2021 

Website: https://diamondchallenge.org/competition/ 

2. Conrad Spirit of Innovation
conrad spirit of innovation challenge

The Conrad Challenge is an annual, virtual, innovation, and entrepreneurial competition that encourages participants to address some of the most pressing global challenges. Participants work together to identify challenges and develop solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems in any of the following categories: Aerospace & Aviation, Cyber-Technology & Security, Energy & Environment, Health & Nutrition, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World with 2 unique categories, and Oceans: The Plastic Problem. Teams may submit in multiple categories, if desired. 

There are three rounds to the competition:  

  • The pitch round to explain students’ product/service concept and how it creates a solution to a real-world challenge 
  • The Business Plan: Develop a strategic business plan in support of the solution
  • The Innovation Summit: Top 5 teams in each category are invited to the final round of the competition, where they present their innovations in front of a panel of expert judges.  

Example of winning ideas:  

  • Aerospace & Aviation: ECOAERO with the idea of The Airlyft, a versatile drone that conforms to the weight of its payload using retractable wings and a tiltrotor feature. 
  • Cyber-Technology & Security: Opioid Overdose Prevention System (OOPS) is an app connected with an opioid tablet dispenser and health band bracelet to prevent opioid overdoses. 
  • Energy & Environment: Lunair is a method using Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) cyanophytes to release the oxygen trapped inside lunar regolith. 
  • Health & Nutrition: S.E.N.S.E. is a multipurpose, wearable, robotic glove-like, device designed to help people learn sign language through tactile signals. 

Award(s): “Pete Conrad Scholar” recognition, scholarships to colleges, and discounted access to professional services for entrepreneurs 

Registration fee: $499 per team (Only for round 2)  

Participants: A team of 2-5 students between 13-18 years old 

Registration opens: August 2021 

Website: https://www.conradchallenge.org/ 

3. Cooper Hewitt Design Competition
cooper hewitt design challenge

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum launched the National High School Design Competition in 2016. Every year, students around the country are challenged to design a solution to a unique scenario, inspired by Cooper Hewitt’s rich collection and stimulating exhibitions.  

For 2021, Cooper Hewitt’s design challenge is: What would you design to create a healthier world? 

Awards: Membership to Cooper Hewitt and networking opportunities with designers / other experts in the field  

Participants: Students ages 13 through 19 who are high school students in Grades 9 through 12, or who are homeschooled students working toward a high school degree anywhere in the United States. You can enter as an individual or as a team of up to three people. 

Registration opens: January 5, 2021 

Deadline to submit: February 22, 2021 

Registration Fee: FREE  

Website:  https://www.cooperhewitt.org/design-competition/

4. NFTE World Series of Innovation
NFTE World Series of Innovationv2

Every fall, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) launches a new set of challenges in the NFTE World Series of Innovation (WSI). NFTE’s World Series of Innovation is a global, online competition that invites young people to submit innovative ideas that address some of the biggest challenges facing humanity today and help advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Example of winning ideas:  

  • Adaptive Reconnaissance, a drone system with 3D mapping software to help first responders evaluate conditions in disaster zones 
  • Biofood, a program pairing restaurants with local power companies to turn food waste into biofuels that can generate clean energy. 

Participants: Young people from the age of 13 to 24. Participants can sign up to complete solo or as a team of 2-4.  

Awards: The three highest-scoring entries in each category receive cash prizes from $1500 (1st place), $600 (2nd place), and $300 (3rd place)  

Deadline to submit: December 2021 

Registration fee: FREE 

Website: https://innovation.nfte.com/ 

5. Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition
Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition

The Blue Ocean High School Entrepreneurship Competition is the most prestigious pitch competition for high school students worldwide. It is a virtual entrepreneurship competition that attracts the very best high school-aged entrepreneurs worldwide. Every year, individuals or teams pitch their innovative business concepts to experienced entrepreneurs and businesspeople, receive feedback on their ideas, join a community of like-minded students, and compete for thousands in cash prizes.   

Example of a winning idea: 

  • Botana by B Fiber: Botana is a water bottle with 100% biodegradable solution made of banana stem. Botana turns this biowaste into pulp to create environmentally friendly products. 

Participants: Young people from the age of 13 to 24. Participants can sign up to complete solo or as a team of 2-4.  

Awards: The three highest-scoring entries in each category receive cash prizes of $1000 (1st place), $750 (2nd place), and $500 (3rd place). The People’s Choice Award is $750 and can be won by receiving the most likes on the competition’s YouTube channel.

Deadline to submit: February 19, 2021 

Registration fee: FREE 

Website: https://blueoceancompetition.org/ 

6. Paradigm Challenge
Paradigm-Challenge

The Paradigm Challenge is an annual competition that inspires youth innovation to address important social issues, such as: home fires, waste reduction, biodiversity, etc. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges will evaluate entries based on effectiveness, feasibility, originality, presentation, and collaboration. Members of the public will also vote for their favorite finalist from June 1 to Aug. 30. 

There are three competition divisions. Division 1 is ages 7 to 10. Division 2 is ages 11 to 14. Division 3 is 15 to 18. 

Examples of winning idea: 

  • The Fire Mitt, Fire Suppression Device 
  • DeTech, Fire Detection Device 
  • NOHBO Shampoo Balls (was featured on Shark Tank)  

Participants: Students from age 4 to 18.  

Awards: Top 100 entries win up to $100,000. Awards vary from $100,000 (Grand Prize) to $5,000 (1st place) and more.  

Deadline to submit: February 19, 2021  

Registration fee: FREE  

Website: https://www.projectparadigm.org/ 

7. GENIUS Olympiad
GENIUS olympiad

GENIUS Olympiad is an international high school project competition about environmental issues. It was founded and organized by Terra Science and Education and is hosted by the Rochester Institute of Technology. GENIUS Olympiad will host projects in five general disciplines with an environmental focus.  

Participants: Students from age 4 to 18.   

Awards: GENIUS Olympiad recognition, scholarships to Rochester Institute of Technology 

Deadline to submit: February 1 – March 1, 2021 

Registration fee: $50 

Website: https://geniusolympiad.org 

DIAMOND CHALLENGE BUSINESS COMPETITION

Description: Diamond Challenge Business Competition 101 is a class that helps aspiring entrepreneurs will create, promote and market a company to win over the judges in the Diamond Challenge Business Competition. In this intensive format, students will experience an active learning course where they will conduct the business ideation process, create a business plan, conduct environmental research, establish organizational mission, vision, and value statements, create marketing and promotion strategies, write the business proposal and create a pitch-deck required by the Diamond Challenge Business Competition.   

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

Students: Students will be placed in teams of up to 4 students to work together in creating their 3–5-page business proposal and 10-15 slide pitch deck to submit to the Diamond Challenge Business Competition.

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