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8 High School Pitch Competitions that You Should Check Out

Pitch competitions are exciting platforms for high school students to showcase their innovative ideas, entrepreneurial spirit, and presentation skills. Pitch competitions offer opportunities for you to transform your ideas into tangible business ventures, receive constructive feedback from seasoned professionals, and compete for prizes. You also get to network with like-minded peers and mentors, which would be beneficial for the future.


Additionally, winning prestigious pitch competitions can demonstrate your skills and initiative on a college application. While any motivated student with a passion for entrepreneurship can benefit from these competitions, they are particularly ideal for those committed to specific business concepts. Here are 8 pitch competitions for high school students that you should consider applying for:

 

Registration opens: Registration for 2025 is open

Submission deadline: Mid-February

Winners announced: Mid-April

Eligibility: High school students across the world (14-18 years of age)

Prize: $1000 for 1st place, $750 for 2nd place, $500 for 3rd place, $750 for People’s Choice Award, and additional regional prizes

Location: Virtual

Fee: None


Organized by the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneurs Corporation, a non-profit organization, this competition is one of the most prestigious pitch competitions for high school students. Thousands of students from across the world take part in the virtual competition to win cash prizes. As a participant (solo or in a team of up to 5 people), you must come up with a business idea that solves a real-world problem and then develop a 5-minute video pitch. You are required to complete a short Blue Ocean course on business strategy and use the Blue Ocean tools on industry landscape, target audience, and strategy in your pitch.


This program will hone your creativity, problem-solving, and visionary thinking skills. Go through the judging criteria and past winning pitches to get an idea of what kind of ideas are expected. You can also read our in-depth review of the competition before you make a decision.


Registration opens: September (tentatively, as per previous competitions)

Registration deadline: January (tentatively, as per previous competitions)

Program dates: Early January to end of February, followed by a 3-day summit from April 25, 2024- April 27, 2024

Eligibility: High school students across the world (14-18 years of age). Teams can be of 2-4 students and each must have one adult advisor who will be the team’s point of contact

Prize: $12,000 for the 1st place, $8,000 for the 2nd, and $4,500 for the 3rd

Location: Initial rounds take place virtually while the final round (summit) is at University of Delaware, Delaware 

Fee: None


The Diamond Challenge is a global entrepreneurship competition hosted by the Horn Entrepreneurship program of the University of Delaware. In this challenge, you can choose between two tracks — Business Innovation (your initiative solves a customer problem and generates profit) or Social Innovation (your initiative solves a social issue and has a positive impact). The challenge includes a submission round that requires a written narrative and a 60-second video, followed by a pitching round which you can attend live or virtually submit a pre-recorded video. The summit is the final round of the competition consisting of a 5-minute pitch and 3-minute Q&A.


Due to its large scale and numerous sponsors, The Diamond Challenge is considered a prestigious program and would give your profile a boost. But keep in mind that this program will require a larger time commitment than other competitions. You can go through our deep dive article on the challenge to get a better understanding of the competition, its structure, as well as its prestige.


Registration opens: August

Program dates: November to April  (The Activation and Lean Canvas stages are due in November, the Innovation stage is due in Jan, and the Power Pitch stage is during 3 days in April)

Eligibility: All high school students aged 13-18 (students must work in teams of 2-5)

Prize: The top teams will be named Pete Conrad Scholars and receive prizes like scholarships, pro-bono legal and consulting services and Dell Latitude laptops. There are several prizes available for other finalists as well.

Location: Virtual and in-person components, with the final summit taking place at Space Center Houston, Texas

Fee: $499


If you are looking for a pitch competition in a specific field, the Conrad Challenge is a great choice. You can choose to develop an idea within one of four fields — aerospace and aviation, energy and environment, cyber technology and security, health and nutrition. The process includes four stages, with the first two revolving around recruiting a team and brainstorming your idea using the Lean Canvas tool. The third is for the detailing which will culminate in a written brief, a video, and a website. Top-scoring teams will be chosen for the final round, where you will finally pitch your innovation at the Conrad Challenge Innovation Summit in Houston.


The Conrad Challenge is also a highly prestigious program. Its global reputation and partnership with institutions like MIT will make the competition a valuable addition to your resume. However, keep in mind that the competition’s focus is on the entrepreneurship process as a whole and not only on the pitch delivery. Head this way for a more detailed look at the competition!


Program dates: September to April, with the competition taking place in June  

Eligibility: All high school students

Prize: Varies by location (prizes up to $10,000 available in the USA)

Location: TiE is a global organization with locations in Canada, USA, Asia and Australia

Fee: Varies by location (approximate range of $500-$2,000 in the USA)


The TYE is a prestigious program hosted by TiE, a global non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs. While the TYE is an enrichment program where students attend workshops and learn about entrepreneurship, it culminates in a TYE Global Entrepreneurship Competition. During the competition, you and your team will pitch your idea through a 1-minute elevator pitch, 10-minute PPT presentation, 5-minute Q&A, and 4-minute changeover. Teams must participate at the regional level in order to compete at the global level. Your pitch will be judged on the basis of customer validation, business model, execution, teamwork, and presentation. If you’re looking for a combination of an educational program and a competition, you should consider TYE as its reputation will also be good for your resume.  


Registration deadline: February 1, 2024

Submission deadline: March 21, 2024

Program dates: Preliminary round on April 13, 2024, final round on May 25, 2024   

Eligibility: High school students between the ages of 14 and 19 (in teams of 3-8 people)

Prize: A trophy and a certificate of achievement

Location: Virtual

Fee: 10,000 yen per team (approximately $67)


As one of the most accessible entrepreneurship challenges in the world which is sponsored by notable organizations (KPMG, Nichicon, Nissin Electric, and more), the GYEC is a highly prestigious competition. What sets this competition apart is the short time span — starting from 8 am, teams get 12 hours to develop a business idea that solves a global challenge, which will be revealed on the day itself. The pitch should include a 2-page business plan and a 3-minute video presentation.


Certain countries’ participants are selected through national competitions while the rest (including the USA and India) must attend a preliminary round which consists of a similar 12-hour challenge. Your pitch will be judged on the basis of creativity, finance, market research, and communication. Here are some tips on how to win the challenge. This is an ideal competition for those who can’t make larger time commitments or can’t go for in-person programs.


Registration opens: November (as per previous years)

Registration deadline: March 8, 2024

Program dates: June 10, 2024 – June 14, 2024

Eligibility: All high school students across the world aged 13-17 years (all students under 17 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone)

Prize: Specific winners will get gold, silver, or bronze medals while all finalists will receive a scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology, ranging from $10,000-$25,000

Location: Rochester Institute of Technology (New York).

Fee: $50 application fee, $425 fee for final participants


The GENIUS Olympiad is an international high school project competition focusing on environmental issues. In the business category of the competition, students must either pitch a business plan that is beneficial for the environment or present a social responsibility plan for an existing business/industry. The first is an ideal option if you’re looking for pitch competitions. You will apply to the program by submitting a business plan of up to 20 pages and, if selected, prepare a 10-minute in-person presentation at the final fair.


GENIUS is a moderately selective program and is considered to be relatively prestigious although, receiving a top award is of much more value than becoming a finalist. To register for the program, you can either apply directly on the website or win the opportunity through an affiliated fair (such as ISEF-affiliated regional fairs). You can find a deeper understanding of this process here.


Registration opens: August 26, 2024  

Program dates: Final event takes place on November 22, 2024

Eligibility: All high school sophomores, juniors and seniors with a GPA of at least 3.0

Prize: $2,500 cash and $10,000 scholarship for the 1st place, $1,000 cash and $6,000 scholarship for the 2nd place, $4,000 scholarship for all finalists

Location: Seton Hall University, New Jersey

Fee: Free


You can apply for the competition by submitting an innovative business idea or a description of a business you have launched in 350 words or less. Your pitch should describe your product/service, how it will make money, the target audience, competition and more. Ten finalists will then be selected to attend the event at Seton Hall University and give a 5-minute presentation on their idea followed by a 5-minute Q&A. The final result will be based on the written and oral presentation, judged by Seton Hall faculty and alumni. Previous winning pitches include a non-profit that provides gluten-free and allergy-friendly food to people in need as well as a cyber-security company that protects educational organizations.


Program dates: The pitch event is not taking place in 2024, but should resume in the future  

Eligibility: All high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors residing in Wisconsin (students can take part individually or in groups of up to 3 people)

Prize: Scholarships of $8,000 for 1st place, $5,000 for 2nd place, and $2,000 for 3rd place. Those not attending UW will receive cash prizes of $3,000 for 1st place, $1,500 for 2nd place, or $500 for 3rd place.

Location: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Fee: Free


Organized by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, this program is a pitch competition where students must present a business idea that solves a real-world problem. Certain existing ventures are accepted as well. After the initial application, up to 24 teams will advance to the final round at UW Oshkosh, where you will have to present a 4-minute pitch followed by a 2-minute Q&A. The presentation must describe the business’s problem-solving feature, revenue model, competition, and market opportunity. Previous winning ideas include a sweatshirt brand with a heated hood and a company that takes in unwanted plants for free and repurposes them to be sold in a retail setting


Bonus - Young Founder's Lab

If you’re looking for an incubator program that helps you establish a developed startup in high school, consider the Young Founders Lab! 


The Young Founder’s Lab is a real-world start-up bootcamp founded and run by Harvard entrepreneurs. In this program, you will work towards building a revenue-generating start-up that addresses a real-world problem. You will also have the opportunity to be mentored by established entrepreneurs and professionals from Google, Microsoft, and X. 

You can access the application link here!



One more option - the Lumiere Research Scholar Program 

If you’re interested in pursuing research in fields like business or related fields, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper. 


Image Source: Blue Ocean Competition logo

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