WHAT WE LOOK FOR
A startup, especially at the early stage, is nothing more than its founders and their vision. After submitting our initial screening application, you'll receive an invitation to submit a video pitch. Our judges are looking closely for how your passion carries across and whether it's infectious or not. Traditional ways of showing this include discussing the wide-scale impact of your product and why your team is the one to execute it correctly. Non-traditional ways are up to you!
For every successful student company, there are countless more that fail. Being a student is hard, and so is starting a company, but doing both at the same time is altogether even more difficult. Do you and your cofounders have the dedication it takes to work on and grow your company even in the midst of being a full-time student? You could show this by highlighting the progress you've made in a short amount of time or telling your founding story and why that means you'll stop at nothing to build your company.
WHAT ARE THE TEAM REQUIREMENTS?
Teams must consist of 1-4 undergraduate or graduate students. All members of your team must be enrolled in college or be on a gap year. This means that if you have an older member on your team, such as a professor or an alumni, then you may not enter the competition.
SHOULD MY TEAM WORK ON A NEW IDEA, OR CAN WE COMPETE WITH SOMETHING WE’VE BEEN WORKING ON ALREADY?
Either is fine! Historically, teams working on new ideas have advanced to the regional round but will need to show strong progress to advance to the final round.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE A TANGIBLE PRODUCT YET?
Not to apply and advance to regionals, but finals teams will need to have shown lots of progress to advance to finals. Regardless, whether you just have an idea or already have a working product, we’ll connect you with both student and professional mentors to launch you to the next level.
WHAT TYPES OF IDEAS OR COMPANIES ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Anything and everything! We’re looking for ideas from a wide range of sectors. Past submissions have been from the social entrepreneurship, biotech, internet tech, agriculture, and music market sectors. Take a look here to see the participants from previous years.
WHO WILL BE JUDGING MY APPLICATION?
Entrepreneurs and VCs will be deciding who moves on to regionals. Judges in your region will be reading your applications, and often come to meet teams at the regional events!
MY COMPANY IS A SOCIAL VENTURE; WILL I BE JUDGED ON DIFFERENT TERMS?
While we currently do not have separate prizes for social vs. non-social ventures, our primary criteria (vision and grit) apply to both. Consideration will of course be taken to ensure that achievements and goals are taken within the proper context.
IF I'VE APPLIED OR COMPETED IN PREVIOUS YEARS, CAN I STILL APPLY THIS YEAR?
Except for past winners, all teams are welcome to apply again.