15 Entrepreneurship Competitions for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

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15 Entrepreneurship Competitions for High School Students

Entrepreneurship competitions offer high school students a unique platform to showcase their innovative ideas and business acumen. These contests provide more than just a chance to win prizes. They open doors to new opportunities and learning experiences.

Let’s discover the significance of these competitions, key information about them, and how they can pave the way for your success. Engaging in these contests can be a game-changer for aspiring young entrepreneurs, offering invaluable insights and networking opportunities.

1. Conrad Challenge

  • Location: Space Center Houston
  • Contest dates: April 23 to 26, 2024
  • Registration deadline: November 3, 2023
  • Eligibility: Students aged between 13 and 18 years old; must participate as a member of a team consisting of 2 to 5 students
  • Prizes: Scholarships, entrepreneurial support, legal and consulting services, laptops

The Conrad Challenge is a notable annual competition that invites students aged 13-18 to solve real-world problems in areas such as Aerospace & Aviation and Health & Nutrition. It celebrates the legacy of NASA astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad by encouraging innovative thinking and entrepreneurial skills among high school students.

reviewing write ups

Joining this contest means engaging in activities from brainstorming to presenting pitches, which sharpens your creativity, critical thinking, and teamwork abilities. As a key entrepreneurship competition for high school students, the Conrad Challenge offers mentorship, cash prizes, and recognition, setting you on a path to success in STEM and entrepreneurial fields.

2. Blue Ocean High School Entrepreneur Pitch Competition

  • Location: Online
  • Contest date: April 26, 2024
  • Registration deadline: February 18, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students worldwide, individual or team
  • Prizes: Cash prizes for students; cash and TV for top schools

The Blue Ocean High School Entrepreneur Pitch Competition opens a global stage for high school students to showcase innovative business ideas. This large virtual contest, run by the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneurs Corp, draws young entrepreneurs from around the world, offering a unique opportunity to pitch their concepts, receive feedback, and compete for cash prizes.

When you enter this competition, you’re not just competing; you’re becoming part of a community that values entrepreneurship, creativity, and problem-solving. Winners walk away with prestigious awards like the Blue Ocean Award and the People’s Choice Award, along with recognition for schools contributing the most submissions, making it a significant step forward for aspiring entrepreneurs.

3. Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition

  • Location: Online
  • Contest dates: June 1 to August 31, 2024
  • Registration deadline: Typically June 30
  • Eligibility: Young innovators aged 15 to 35
  • Prizes: Virtual badges and certificates

The Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition offers a chance for young entrepreneurs to create projects that align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. It’s organized by notable entities like the Goi Peace Foundation, Stiftung Entrepreneurship (Berlin), and UNESCO, providing free training to help participants refine their ideas into effective business models or improve ongoing initiatives.

Open to individuals between 13–29 years old, with a special category for those above 30, the competition judges entries on criteria such as innovation, leadership, and social impact. Through a process of submission, online voting, and expert evaluation, winners receive certificates, potential financial rewards, and opportunities to join a global network of entrepreneurs, offering a significant platform for those aiming to impact their communities positively.

4. Wharton Global High School Investment Competition

  • Location: Online; Global Finale at the Wharton campus in Philadelphia
  • Contest dates: April 19 and 20, 2025
  • Registration deadline: September 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Grades 9 through 12
  • Prizes: Free Wharton online courses

The Wharton Global High School Investment Competition is a prestigious, online simulation that introduces high school students to the world of investments. Through this free competition, teams of four to seven students, guided by a teacher-advisor, use the StockTrak stock market simulator to explore investment strategies and financial principles.

By participating, you’ll delve into strategy-building, risk management, and company analysis, gaining skills crucial for future success. This competition, an entrepreneurship opportunity for high school students, culminates in a Global Finale at the Wharton School, offering certificates and potential scholarships to winners, thereby laying a foundation for both academic and professional growth.

5. Global Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (GYEC)

  • Location: Online
  • Contest dates: April 13 (Preliminary Round) and May 25, 2024 (Final Round)
  • Registration deadline: March 21, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 14 to 19; teams should consist of up to 8 students
  • Prizes: Trophies and certificates

GYEC is a dynamic 12-hour online competition for high school students aged 14 to 19, focusing on creating sustainable business ideas to tackle global challenges. Teams of up to eight students collaborate to devise solutions in areas such as poverty, hunger, and climate change, leveraging science and technology.

Sorority members studying together

Joining this entrepreneurship competition for high school students offers you the chance to stretch your creativity, teamwork, and business understanding. Beyond trophies and certificates for winners, all participants gain valuable experience and skills in entrepreneurship, communication, and problem-solving, crucial for future success.

6. Wisconsin High School Business Model Competition

  • Location: University of Wisconsin (UW) Oshkosh’s Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Contest dates: To be arranged
  • Registration deadline: To be arranged
  • Eligibility: Wisconsin high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors; individual or in teams of up to three members
  • Prizes: Scholarships to UW Oshkosh

The Wisconsin High School Business Model Competition, organized by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is a prestigious statewide event. It challenges high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to develop and present original business ideas. With a $15,000 prize pool, the competition aims to encourage entrepreneurship among Wisconsin’s youth by providing a platform to explore and pitch viable business plans.

Participating in this entrepreneurship competition offers the chance to win a portion of the prize money and gain valuable experience in business creation, presentation, and teamwork. It’s an excellent opportunity to enhance your entrepreneurial skills, connect with peers, and potentially receive significant financial support to kickstart your business journey.

7. Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

  • Location: Various locations
  • Contest dates: Vary by location
  • Registration deadline: Vary by location
  • Eligibility: Middle and high school students
  • Prizes: Scholarships and funding for business ideas

YEA! is a distinctive 7-month program designed to empower middle and high school students. It guides them through creating and launching their own businesses or social movements. Supported by the Loudoun Chamber Foundation and the Loudoun Economic Development Authority, this program offers hands-on experience in developing business ideas, writing plans, and pitching to investors.

Participating in this entrepreneurship program provides valuable skills in business development, market research, and public speaking, mentored by local professionals. It’s an opportunity to turn innovative ideas into reality, potentially earn college scholarships, and join a network of young entrepreneurs equipped with confidence and leadership skills for success in the business world.

8. VentureLab’s Youth Startup Expo

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Contest date: April 6, 2024
  • Registration deadline: Not specified
  • Eligibility: Youth aged 8-18
  • Prizes: Up to $500 in materials to support their business; mentorship sessions

VentureLab’s Youth Startup Expo is an annual event designed to spotlight the entrepreneurial talents of high school students, offering them a stage to showcase their innovative startup ideas. It plays a crucial role in promoting youth entrepreneurship, aiming to enhance participants’ entrepreneurial skills and creativity through pitching opportunities and the chance to receive valuable feedback.

By participating in this entrepreneurship competition for high school students, you’ll have the unique chance to present your business concepts to a wider audience, gain insights from experts, and compete for prizes. This experience not only bolsters your entrepreneurial spirit but also equips you with the skills to innovate and create ventures that can make a significant impact.

9. Diamond Challenge

  • Location: University of Delaware
  • Contest dates: April 25 to 27, 2024
  • Registration deadline: January 16, 2024
  • Eligibility: Teams of 2-4 high school students between 14-18
  • Prizes: Cash prizes and special awards

Initiated by the University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship center in 2012, the Diamond Challenge is a leading entrepreneurship competition for high school students, engaging over 10,000 teens from more than 70 countries and 40 U.S. states. This contest not only fosters innovation through its Business and Social Innovation tracks but also aims to educate and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs.

business students brainstorming

By participating, you dive into a world of entrepreneurship, where you can present your ideas, receive feedback, and compete for up to $100,000 in prizes. More than just prize money, the Diamond Challenge offers mentorship and networking opportunities that equip you with lifelong skills and connections, making it a valuable experience for any aspiring entrepreneur.

10. Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)’s World Series of Innovation (WSI)

  • Location: Online
  • Contest date: April 15, 2024
  • Registration deadline: February 24, 2024
  • Eligibility: Young people aged 11-24
  • Prizes: Cash prizes

NFTE’s WSI stands out as an annual global competition that challenges young innovators, aged 13-24, to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through creative solutions. With a history of engaging nearly 40,000 participants in solving pressing global issues, the competition supports 8-10 diverse challenges each year, offering cash prizes to top ideas.

Entering the WSI means you’re not just competing for up to $1,500 in cash prizes; you’re also taking a significant step towards making a real-world impact. This platform not only encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation but also provides critical support to students from low-income backgrounds, making it an enriching opportunity for young entrepreneurs committed to change.

11. Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS)

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Contest dates: June 9 to 13, 2024
  • Registration deadline: May 3, 2023
  • Eligibility: Students aged 15-18 who have participated in the JA Company Program during the 2023-2024 school year
  • Prizes: Cash prizes and special awards

The NSLS is a top-tier event where high school students from across the United States come together to celebrate their entrepreneurial accomplishments through the JA Company Program. This annual summit showcases the business skills, creativity, and innovation of young entrepreneurs, featuring over 500 start-up ventures that demonstrate real-world application of business concepts.

Participating in the NSLS offers a chance to impress business leaders, receive valuable feedback, and earn recognition. You’ll be judged on financial performance, product innovation, and effective communication and collaboration, with awards recognizing achievements in areas like social impact, global connectivity, and financial excellence.

12. BETA Camp

  • Location: Online
  • Contest dates: June 17 to July 16, July 8 to August 2, and July 22 to August 16, 2024
  • Registration deadline: June 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 13-18 from the US, Canada, or the UK, including gap year students
  • Prizes: Skill development and networking opportunities

BETA Camp is a virtual entrepreneurship program made for high school students aged 13-18. It’s a four-week journey where you’ll learn how to create startups. You’ll work on real problems with guidance from professionals at top companies like Google and Apple.

Throughout the program, you’ll dive into every step of starting a business, from coming up with ideas to making them real and pitching them to investors on Demo Day. Besides learning entrepreneurship basics, you’ll develop leadership skills and gain practical business experience to help you stand out in your future academic and career paths.

13. National Personal Finance Challenge (NPFC)

  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Contest dates: May 19 to 20, 2024
  • Registration deadline: Varies by state
  • Eligibility: High school students participating in the state competitions and advancing to the national level
  • Prizes: Cash prizes

NPFC is a nationwide contest for high school students focused on personal finance. It covers topics like savings, investing, managing credit, and handling risks. The competition includes an online test, state and national semi-finals, and a final presentation on financial planning for a hypothetical family scenario.

unidentified person holding a calculator while their other hand is holding a pen pointed at a graph printed on paper

Taking part in NPFC helps you understand crucial personal finance concepts better and offers the chance to win cash prizes, up to $2,000 per student for the winning team. You’ll get hands-on experience with real financial situations and present your solutions to experts, sharpening your financial skills and preparing you for future financial independence.

14. TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) Global Business Plan Competition

  • Location: Singapore
  • Contest dates: Varies by competition
  • Registration deadline: Varies by competition
  • Eligibility: High school students; must have at least one current student or recent alumni of less than 5 years from a university
  • Prizes: Cash prizes

The TYE Global Business Plan Competition is a vital part of a global initiative aimed at sparking entrepreneurial skills in high school students. It involves classroom sessions, team activities, and mentorship to teach entrepreneurship and business basics. Students create and compete with their business plans at local chapter finals.

Joining this competition means diving into an entrepreneurial environment with guidance from local entrepreneurs and professionals. From brainstorming to the global competition, where you can win up to $10,000, you’ll improve your business skills and build a network of peers and mentors for future entrepreneurial ventures.

15. Cooper Hewitt Design Competition

  • Location: Online; finals at the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Contest dates: Typically from January to April
  • Registration deadline: Typically in February
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 13-19
  • Prizes: Gift packages, mentorship opportunities

The Cooper Hewitt Design Competition, organized by the Smithsonian Design Museum, invites high school students to tackle community challenges using design and data. This unique contest features a two-stage approach, where participants submit initial designs and finalists further refine their ideas under mentorship before presenting them to judges.

Joining this competition allows you to sharpen your design skills and benefit from expert guidance. Winners enjoy rewards like custom design packages and Cooper Hewitt memberships, making it an essential opportunity for students passionate about design and looking to make an impact.

What are the benefits of joining high school entrepreneurship competitions?

Participating in an entrepreneurship competition offers high school students unparalleled exposure to the business world. These competitions provide a practical platform to apply theoretical knowledge, fostering a deep understanding of what it takes to bring an idea to life.

Moreover, students gain invaluable feedback from seasoned entrepreneurs and industry professionals, which can significantly refine their business acumen and strategies. Competing also expands students’ networks, connecting them with peers, mentors, and potential investors interested in entrepreneurship for young innovators.

How do you prepare for high school entrepreneurship competitions?

Preparation for a high school entrepreneurship competition should start with thorough research on the competition’s theme and criteria. This foundational step ensures that students’ projects align with the judges’ expectations and the competition’s goals, enhancing their chances of success.

Additionally, assembling a diverse team that combines various skills and perspectives can be a game-changer. It enables students to tackle the competition’s challenges more effectively, leveraging each member’s strengths to build a compelling business proposal for the entrepreneurship contest targeting high school participants.

How can entrepreneurship competitions enhance your college applications?

Entrepreneurship competitions for high school students serve as a testament to a student’s initiative, creativity, and leadership abilities on college applications. These contests show admissions officers that applicants are willing to take risks, think critically, and solve real-world problems.

a female student being interviewed and hand shaken

Furthermore, success in these competitions highlights a student’s ability to work effectively in teams, a skill highly valued in higher education and beyond. This experience not only sets applicants apart but also showcases their commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, making their applications more compelling.

What are the latest trends in high school entrepreneurship competitions?

The latest trends in high school entrepreneurship competitions focus on sustainability and social impact, reflecting growing global concerns. Competitions are increasingly seeking ideas that offer sustainable solutions to societal issues, encouraging students to think about the long-term impact of their businesses.

Moreover, the integration of technology is becoming more prominent, with a significant emphasis on digital innovation and the use of emerging technologies to solve problems. This shift not only broadens the scope of projects but also equips students with the technological fluency required in the modern business world, setting a new standard for competitions in the entrepreneurial sphere for high schoolers.

How do judges evaluate projects in high school entrepreneurship competitions?

In entrepreneurship competitions for high school students, judges typically evaluate projects based on innovation, feasibility, and impact. They look for unique solutions that address real-world problems effectively, assessing whether the ideas presented could realistically be implemented and succeed in the market.

Additionally, the potential for positive social or environmental impact plays a significant role, with judges favoring projects that offer substantial benefits to society or the planet. This holistic evaluation approach ensures that winning projects are not only innovative and feasible but also meaningful.


Entrepreneurship competitions offer high school students a unique platform to showcase their innovative ideas, gain valuable skills, and make an impact. Through participation, students not only enhance their academic and career prospects but also contribute to solving some of today’s most pressing challenges.

Remember, it’s not just about winning. It’s about the learning and the chance to make a difference that leaves a lasting impression.


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