I Am A:

ACC inVenture Prize at UNC

Before the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) inVenture Prize Finals each year, UNC-Chapel Hill selects the best team to represent the University at the ACC InVenture Prize regional conference. If you’re chosen to represent Carolina and participate in the two rounds of competition, judges will evaluate your team on its quality of idea, business model, entrepreneurship and probability of success. If you make it to the final round, the competition between you and other teams will broadcast live on television by Public Broadcasting Service affiliates down the east coast. You and other student participates will get the chance to engage in a variety of innovation and startup activities while in Atlanta. You’ll also have the opportunity to present your work following the final competition to audience members, the public and potential investors.

Sheryl Waddell

Director of Innovate Carolina Global Network, Innovate Carolina

Carolina Challenge

Established in 2005, the Carolina Challenge has become one of the most dynamic and exciting hallmarks of the UNC-Chapel Hill entrepreneurship ecosystem. As the University’s flagship venture competition, the Carolina Challenge is run by a student committee and gives you and other competitors the chance to win seed funding for your early-stage ideas. As a participant, you’ll have the opportunity to receive prize money because Carolina Challenge distributes approximately $50,000 in total prize money amongst the most promising ventures each year – in both for-profit and non-profit/social tracks. The challenge is a valuable opportunity to gain experience with entrepreneurship through experiential learning and a comprehensive program that’s open to all Carolina undergraduate students and alumni within one year of graduating from the University. And each year gives you the opportunity to compete in two separate challenges: a pitch party in the fall and a makeathon competition in the spring.

Aspyn Fulcher

Assistant Director, Student Engagement
Kenan Center, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, 300 Kenan Center Dr., Chapel Hill, NC

Hult Prize at UNC

The Hult Prize at UNC is a one-day pitch competition that serves as the qualifying round for the Hult Prize Foundation international challenge, which is a global startup competition with a grand prize of $1 million in seed money to fund the winning social enterprise idea. If you’re a student (graduate or undergraduate) or recent alumni, you’re welcome to participate. You’ll work with a team to form an idea and business plan with support from the Hult Prize at UNC team before pitching. In order to compete, all you need is an idea. No prior experience is necessary.

VCIC (Venture Capital Investment Competition)

The Venture Capital Investment Competition® began in the middle of the technology bubble in 1998 as an educational event for MBAs to learn about venture funding. Now, nearly 20 years later, VCIC® has evolved into a marketplace for entrepreneurs seeking investors and a training ground for future venture capitalists. Each year, VCIC includes 50 events on three continents, and serves 1,200 MBA students, 175 venture capitalists and 125 entrepreneurs. If you’re an MBA student interested in gaining experience with venture funding, it’s an outstanding program that operates like a network of mini-venture fairs. You’ll join a group of presenting entrepreneurs, about a quarter of which go on to raise venture funding.

Patrick Vernon

Clinical Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director, Venture Initiatives, Kenan-Flagler Business School
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, 300 Kenan Center Dr., Chapel Hill, NC

Invest for Impact Competition

Formerly the Sustainable Venture Capital Investment Competition (SVCIC), Invest for Impact is a case competition that brings real startups and investors together with MBA students. Now in its 15th year, IIC® has evolved into an international marketplace for entrepreneurs seeking investors and a training ground for future venture capitalists. At the core of the IIC competition is a creative turn of the tables. Unlike business plan competitions in which you pitch your own ideas to investors, at IIC you and other students are the investors and real entrepreneurs pitch to you. You must invest in one venture and negotiate the terms of your deal with the chosen entrepreneur. Add to the mix a dozen venture capitalist judges who are there to observe and critique your individual performance, and you have a powerfully unique competitive experience.

Tracy Triggs-Matthews

Associate Director, Center for Sustainable Enterprises
Kenan Center, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, 300 Kenan Center Dr., Chapel Hill, NC

Infy Makers

Share your innovative thinking and making skills to solve important problems facing your community and our world. Participate in the Infy Makers Awards Contest and address major challenges in education, health, environmental sustainability and hunger. You could be one of 25 makers (aged 18 years and older) to receive $10,000 to help you take your innovation to the next level.

Tiger Launch

TigerLaunch is the nation’s largest student-run, inter-collegiate entrepreneurship competition. In addition to connecting you to mentors and offering you at least $30,000 in prize money, TigerLaunch also gives you the chance to meet with some of the top venture capital firms in the country, such as Sequoia Capital. That kind of opportunity can prove even more valuable than any monetary prize.

California Dreamin’ Entrepreneurship Competition

Held annually, the California Dreamin’ Entrepreneurship Competition provides an opportunity for student teams from the top entrepreneurial programs in the United States to compete against their peers for prizes and the opportunity to set their ideas in motion. Here’s how it works: the contest is by invitation only. The invitation to compete is extended to participating schools, and the schools decide which team to send to the competition by whatever means they choose. That could be an internal business plan competition, in-school incubator selection, student entrepreneur group choice or other approach. Teams compete to win up to a $75,000 in cash prize. If you’re a Carolina student who’s interested in participating, ask a faculty or staff member from your school or department for more information.

Social Business Creation Competition

The Social Business Competition is structured as a course that provides experiential learning and uses gamification to enhance the student learning experience. By participating, you’ll learn how to use market mechanisms to address social challenges, apply a social collective mindset, collaborate with various stakeholders and develop your business idea into a real business. This competition offers a win-win platform that allows for bottom-up development, and your team can compete for a cash prize of up to $15,000. The competition is open to university students at all levels, in all programs and all disciplines. Non-students can be a part of your entrepreneurial team, but they can’t enter the competition as participants.

Baylor Business New Venture Competition

The Baylor New Venture Competition event is a two-day, dual-round business plan and speed pitch competition that promotes entrepreneurship and small business development. If you’re an undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate student, or a recent alum of UNC-Chapel Hill or any accredited university across the U.S., this competition is an excellent way to receive expert feedback and win prizes to help fund your venture. You can compete on two tracks:

1. Consumer and Internet Technology Companies.
2. Non-Technology Companies.

If you make it to the finals, you’ll compete with top teams from both tracks to win a prize up to $60,000.

TCU Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition

Presented by the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, this is a unique annual competition for undergraduate students around the world. It’s a great chance for you to pitch plans for a business, product or service that make a profit, while also benefitting the environment, community or a specific population. If you’re a winner, you can receive up to a $25,000 prize.

Charlotte Venture Challenge

If you have an early-stage, high-growth company, check out the annual Charlotte Venture Challenge. In the last three years, more than 300 startup companies entered the competition for the opportunity to present to potential investors and first customers, while winning more than $150,000 in cash prizes. If you make it to the final round, you’ll have the chance to present to angel and venture capital investors and large potential customers (Fortune 500 corporations).

SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event Competition

The annual SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event showcases innovative new technologies to a panel of judges and emcees who are industry experts, high-profile media personal, venture capitalists and angel investors. To participate, you company will have to be selected by the SXSW Screening Committee from the hundreds of startups from around the world that apply. Winning has big perks: you’ll be placed in the spotlight as a technology leader of the future and gain exposure to funders.

National Energy Finance Challenge

The National Energy Finance Challenge is an annual business case competition focused on real-world finance issues facing the energy industry. The event brings corporate executives and recruiters from world-renowned companies with links to the energy industry into contact with the best MBA students from around the country. Through this unique learning experience, you’ll compete against approximately 16 teams consisting of four or five first- and second-year students from top U.S. business schools. You must be a full-time MBA student to participate, and your team must include at least three first-year students. Your team can win a cash prize of up to $10,000.

Marketing Analytics Summit Competition

Have an idea for how analytics can help marketers make better decisions? Consider participating in the Marketing Analytics Summit at Wake Forest University’s School of Business. Each year, the event welcomes applications from MBA and undergraduate student teams around the world. If selected, you’ll not only have the chance to compete for a prize of $50,000, but you can also showcase your hard work to a crowd of marketing professionals from companies such as CVS, Coca-Cola, Target, Uber, Wal-Mart and many more. While the competition remains centered on real-world marketing situations, the summit will focus on the growing need for marketers to combine data-driven solutions backed by profound human insights.

Deloitte National Case Competition

Each year, the Deloitte National Case Competition invites a field of highly competitive teams from across the country to square off in a bracket-style tournament. During this competition, your team will be pitted against others to test your critical thinking, business knowledge and strategic problem-solving potential through case simulation. As a participant, you’ll have the opportunity to build personal and professional relationships with Deloitte Consulting Partners, win a cash prize from the $50,000 national prize pool and gain national recognition in head-to-head competition against teams from top MBA programs.

Triangle Health Innovation Challenge

The Triangle Health Innovation Challenge (THInC) brings together students and young professionals (engineers, clinicians, designers, business people and others) to tackle and build innovative solutions for the biggest challenges in health and health care. Organized by the Duke School of Medicine Innovation and Entrepreneurship Activity Group and the Carolina Health Entrepreneurship Initiative, THInC brings together the academic, industry, pharmaceutical, startup and student communities to collaborate and solve problems of immense importance. At THInC, you’ll join a team that’s tackling a specific pain point in health. Over a 48-hour period, you’ll work together to construct technological solutions to address your team’s problem, and in the process, help raise the standard of health care. If the panel of judges selects your pitch as a winner, you can receive up to $4,000 in cash prizes.

Creative Business Cup

Each year, National Partners hosts national Creative Business Cup competitions. The Creative Business Cup empowers entrepreneurs in the creative industries, connects them to investors and global markets, and strengthens their innovative capabilities to the benefit of industry and society. To be part of the competitions and compete as a finalist at Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen, you must contact the U.S. National Partner, National Creativity Network.

Unite for Sight Innovation Prize

The Innovation Prize is a $10,000 and a $5,000 cash prize that is awarded to the two best social impact pitches that are presented at the annual Global Health and Innovation Conference. All conference registrants — both students and professionals, and both non-profit and for-profit organizations — are eligible to apply for the Innovation Prize. Early-stage pitches and established-stage pitches are equally eligible for the cash awards. In addition, participants selected to pitch can receive feedback from experts and the audience at the conference. The Innovation Prize supports outstanding ideas, programs, and organizations which are locally-developed and locally-responsible.


The world has already invented ways to end poverty, yet the best interventions are not being distributed at mass-scale. The D-Prize competition will challenge you to design a business or a non-profit organization that solves a distribution challenge for girl education, agriculture, energy, global health, education, governance and infrastructure, or another challenge that you specify. If you’re selected as a winner, you can receive up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in any region where extreme poverty exists.

VentureWell E-Team

Working on a promising technology invention? You may want to participate in the VentureWell E-Team competition, which is designed for college students working on technology-based ventures. If you’re among the winning student innovators, you’ll receive up to $25,000 in funding to support your venture, access to immersive workshops and specialized coaching to help move your invention into the marketplace.

DEBUT Competition

If you’re part of an undergraduate student team working on an innovative solution to health and clinical problems, consider exploring the Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) competition. It’s a great way to earn recognition for your excellent work in biomedical innovation and also win a prize of up to $20,000.

BME Idea

The world needs more effective, functional and affordable technology solutions to clinical medical problems. If you’re a student biomedical entrepreneur, the national BME Idea competition offers you the chance to develop these kind of solutions, win up to $10,000 and receive critical early-stage validation of your ideas. Whether you’re a graduate or undergraduate student, you can participate in the competition and take on the challenge of pioneering a health-related technology that addresses a real clinical need.

Thought for Food Challenge

The Thought For Food Challenge calls on the world’s best and brightest university students to form teams and develop breakthrough solutions that address the global challenge of feeding more than 9 billion people by the year 2050. Entering this challenge will give you access to world-class mentors who will help turn your idea into a reality and offer you the chance to receive up to $25,000 in cash prizes. You may also be selected to participate in the Thought for Food Bootcamp, an intense, 10-week startup training.

Get in the Ring Global Startup Competition

The Get in the Ring global competition lets you compete against thousands of startups globally, win awards, get exposure among an entrepreneurial network that reaches across 100 countries and create fans to scale up your business. Participating in a Get in the Ring event is an exciting and educational way to perfect your pitch and get feedback from experts.

Web Summit ALPHA

Each week, the Web Summit selects early-stage startups from around the world to exhibit as part of ALPHA. If selected for ALPHA, you’ll get an exhibition stand, three tickets, an opportunity to access Investor Office Hours, Mentor Hours, Startup University, Startup Workshops, Startup Roundtables and much more.

University Startup World Cup

The University Startup World Cup starts off with one week in Copenhagen, where 50 of the best teams from all over the world are invited to network with entrepreneurs, investors and business people. While there, your team will also have the chance to develop and benchmark its business idea. If your team is elected as the winner at the end of the week, you’ll be able to call yourself the world’s best university startup. The perks don’t stop there. As the winner, you can receive up to $25,000, become part of a large international network, receive professional feedback on a business plan and spend one week in Copenhagen exploring a flourishing startup environment.

Global Entrepreneurship Network Startup Open

Startup Open is an annual global competition to recognize and reward startups and the entrepreneurs behind them. If you have a new business in any industry that has yet to raise outside capital from angel investors, venture capital firms or other formal sources of seed funding, you can join the competition, which is held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. You’ll have a chance to be recognized by Startup Open as one of the top 50 startups of the year and win prizes to help you grow your business.

Mentor Capital Network Sustainable Business Plan Competition

The Mentor Capital Network supports entrepreneurs across the world who are building for-profit companies that make the world a better place by just existing. If you are launching or growing a for-profit company where your social, environmental and/or cultural mission strengthens your financial margins, then the Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration is for you. You’ll be eligible to pursue prizes that include cash and professional services worth more than $60,000.

Postcode Lottery Green Challenge

The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is the world’s largest competition in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship. Green startups from all over the world can submit promising sustainable business plans. In order to be able to compete, your product or service must reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If you’re selected as a winner by the challenge’s international jury, you’ll receive €500,000 to further develop your product or service and to bring it to market. The runner-up will receive €200,000.

Rice Business Plan Competition

The Rice University Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition. It is hosted and organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. Join other teams from around the world and compete for more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes. You’ll make your pitch in front of more than 300 judges, primarily venture capitalists and other investors.

Global Student Venture Competition

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) provides aspiring student entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure and $80,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have a positive, real-world impact. To win the award prize from GSVC, your team will need to demonstrate the highest, most integrated financial and social returns – a business that demonstrates blended value. Your team must include a student, whether a current or recent graduate, from any level of higher education (undergraduate, masters/graduate or doctoral) from any area of study in the world.

Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending a college or university. As an award nominee, you’ll compete against your peers from around the world in a series of local and/or national competitions to qualify for the GSEA finals. If you’re an undergraduate student who has owned and operated a business for at least six months, you’re eligible to participate.

First Mile Innovation Challenge

The Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Global Health Program and General Electric Sustainable Health Care Solutions host the First Mile Innovation Challenge to crowdsource innovative technologies and solutions that directly address clinical or community hardships in global primary care. These innovations should impact communities and individuals in low- and middle-income countries with a focus on: maternal, newborn and child health, cardiac health and safe surgery. By winning the First Mile Innovation Challenge, you will receive $25,000 in funding, in addition to introductions to GE’s new five.eight Accelerator and resources provided through the CAMTech Innovation Platform.

New Venture Championship

The New Venture Championship competition takes place in Portland, Oregon every spring. It is a graduate student investment competition designed to mimic the real-world process of raising venture capital. This competition is a great way for you to gain real experience in this process, while developing and growing new ventures based either on your own ideas and technologies or those developed by others. You’ll participate as part of a team and compete against other teams from the United States and around the world to present and defend your business plan to a panel of esteemed judges. You’ll get valuable feedback and compete for a chance to win over $60,000 in cash prizes. All competitors receive cash awards and advice from Northwest business entrepreneurs and executives.

Cupid’s Entrepreneurship Cup Competition

Cupid’s Cup is the national entrepreneurship competition of Kevin Plank, founder & CEO of Under Armour. Every year, Plank and a team of celebrity judges award more than $100,000 in cash prizes in exchange for no equity in the company. If you win, you’ll also receive access to Plank’s professional network and the prestigious Cupid’s Cup. Former judges have included Arianna Huffington, Daymond John, Russell Simmons and Dan Gilbert. To apply, you must be 30 years old or younger.


XPRIZE is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. It democratizes problem-solving, captures the world’s imagination and inspires others to reach for similar goals, spurring innovation and accelerating the rate of positive change. XPRIZES are monetary rewards based on competitions that have measurable goals. By participating, you’ll cross national and disciplinary boundaries and compete with teams around the world to address some of today’s most pressing issues.