March 22 - 26, 2021

March 22 - 26, 2021

Get Involved

Compete

UNIVERSITY-WIDE PITCH COMPETITIONS

Throughout the year a variety of student competitions are held, giving Penn State student, faculty, alumni and others the opportunity to develop and grow exciting business and non-profit ideas. Many of these competitions use Startup Week as the setting for their final pitch contest or to celebrate major milestones in their programs.

Ag Springboard
Competition

An annual Stark Tank-style business pitch competition for students in all colleges and all campuses with ideas related to food, ag, community, and bio-renewables. Teams of 2-5 students present a polished pitch for a new business or non- profit organization.

Learn more about Ag Springboard

Requirements

  • At least one student on the team must be enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Prizes

  • 1st place: $7,500
  • 2nd place: $2,500
  • Additional in-kind prizes consisting of resources to help advance the business idea will be awarded

Contact

Arts business
idea competition

For business ideas or concepts that are arts-based, this competition is open to freelance, non-profit, for profit, hybrid, and small or large-scale ideas.

Learn more about the Arts Business Idea Competition

Requirements

  • Individuals or teams present a business plan based on an arts-based product or service.

Prizes

  • 1st place: $5,000
  • 2nd place: $2,500
  • 3rd place: $1,500
  • 4th place: $1,000

HackPSU

HackPSU is Penn State’s educational hackathon that attracts hundreds of students for 48 hours of creation, innovation, and fun. All are welcome to join, from seasoned coding veterans to first-time hackers from any major or field.

Learn more about HackPSU

Requirements

  • Any student currently enrolled in full time or part time higher education.
  • Any person under 18 must be a Penn State University student at the date of the event to participate.

Prizes

  • Sponsor swag, prizes, and more!

Happy Valley Capital
Pitch Competition

Every spring Happy Valley Capital holds a premiere pitch competition where student-run startups go head-to-head to compete for prizes up to $10,000.

Learn more about the Happy Valley Capital Pitch Competition

Requirements

  • Any student-run startup is eligible to apply.
  • At least one founder must be a current Penn State student.

Prizes

  • 1st place: $5,000
  • 2nd place: $3,000
  • 3rd place: $2,000

IDEAMAKERS
CHALLENGE

A challenge for early-stage ideas where student teams identify an important problem that can be solved using digital innovation. Teams are mentored by faculty and experienced entrepreneurs for a chance to win prizes that advance their idea and professional network.

Learn more about the IdeaMakers Challenge

Requirements

  • Teams of 2-5 undergraduate students from multiple majors/colleges
  • Solution must include technology as a key component

Prizes

  • Top two teams receive a fully paid trip to an entrepreneurship conference or to visit a well-known startup company.

Contact

Inc.U
Competition

An undergraduate pitch competition that culminates in "The Investment," a television show where student startups compete for significant investment dollars for their companies.

Learn more about the Inc.U Competition

Requirements

  • Business ideas must be based on an original idea.
  • Must be at least 50% owned by full time, undergraduate Penn State students.

Prizes

  • Win up to $30,000
  • Finalists pitch on WPSU-TV show, "The Investment"

Contact

LION Tank™

Aspiring entrepreneurs are invited to venture into the LION Tank™ for a chance to make their ideas come to fruition.

Learn more about LION Tank™

Requirements

  • Record a short video describing your business concept, what problem it solves, and why you are uniquely positioned to solve it.
  • Fill out the application form.
  • Any individual Penn State student (any major/any campus) or team can apply.

Prizes

  • 1st: Microgrant award of $1,500
  • 2nd: Microgrant award of $1,000

Contact

Nittany
AI Challenge

Student teams with diverse talents and world-changing ideas in health, humanitarianism, education, sustainability, or climate change compete for cash prizes and the chance to pitch functioning solutions to representatives from leading AI companies.

Learn more about the Nittany AI Challenge

Requirements

  • Structured, year-long competition divided into three distinct phases, each with unique submission criteria.
  • Open to undergraduate students from all campuses and academic colleges.

Prizes

  • Compete for total prize pool of $50,000

Contact

Start.Me.Up Mini-Challenge

The Start.Me.Up Mini-Challenge lets you show off your creative chops and build your resume while working with real companies on real projects. Compete with other students to deliver on a real need of a local company. Think of it like a freelance gig, but with prizes.

Learn more about the Start.Me.Up Mini-Challenge

Requirements

  • Open to all Penn State students

Prizes

  • 1st: $400 gift card
  • 2nd: $300 gift card
  • 3rd: $200 gift card

The Creating Shared
Value Challenge

All Penn State students are invited to join and compete with students from around the world in this opportunity to create a better future. You'll get all of the tools you need to understand creating shared value (CSV) and sustainable management. It's your job to come up with the next big idea, whether that's your own impact startup or a recommendation for big business.

Learn more about the Creating Shared Value Challenge

Requirements

  • All students and recent graduates, from all academic institutions, disciplines, and backgrounds
  • Anyone can solve the challenges, and no prior knowledge is required.
  • Tackle challenges solo, or with a team (of up to 5 team members).

Prizes

  • Win prizes!

"What's Your Big Idea?"
Challenge

Have an innovative idea? Penn State Shenango, through its VenturePointe Incubator at the eCenter @ LindenPointe, hosts its inaugural “What’s Your Big Idea?” Challenge.

Learn more about the "What's Your Big Idea?" Challenge

Requirements

  • Open to all Penn State Shenango students, faculty, and staff

Prizes

  • Receive up to $500 towards your new startup
  • Receive personal mentoring through Penn State Shenango's VenturePointe incubator, the eCenter @ LindenPointe

Contact

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