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.
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
- At least one student on the team must be enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
- 1st place: $7,500
- 2nd place: $2,500
- Additional in-kind prizes consisting of resources to help advance the business idea will be awarded
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
- Individuals or teams present a business plan based on an arts-based product or service.
- 1st place: $5,000
- 2nd place: $2,500
- 3rd place: $1,500
- 4th place: $1,000
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
- 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.
- Sponsor swag, prizes, and more!
Happy Valley Capital
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
- Any student-run startup is eligible to apply.
- At least one founder must be a current Penn State student.
- 1st place: $5,000
- 2nd place: $3,000
- 3rd place: $2,000
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
- Teams of 2-5 undergraduate students from multiple majors/colleges
- Solution must include technology as a key component
- Top two teams receive a fully paid trip to an entrepreneurship conference or to visit a well-known startup company.
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
- Business ideas must be based on an original idea.
- Must be at least 50% owned by full time, undergraduate Penn State students.
- Win up to $30,000
- Finalists pitch on WPSU-TV show, "The Investment"
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™
- 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.
- 1st: Microgrant award of $1,500
- 2nd: Microgrant award of $1,000
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
- Structured, year-long competition divided into three distinct phases, each with unique submission criteria.
- Open to undergraduate students from all campuses and academic colleges.
- Compete for total prize pool of $50,000
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
The Creating Shared
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
- 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).
- Win prizes!
"What's Your Big Idea?"
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
- Open to all Penn State Shenango students, faculty, and staff
- Receive up to $500 towards your new startup
- Receive personal mentoring through Penn State Shenango's VenturePointe incubator, the eCenter @ LindenPointe
Interested in competing or have questions?