The Top 3 Venture Competitions for High School Entrepreneurs

Early bird gets the worm, right?

The statement is so simple. Yet, it holds immense depth. As Ben Franklin says, 

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man [or woman] healthy, wealthy, and wise”.

But it’s not just about waking up early.

  • It’s about showing up earlier than everyone else, and getting first pick – whether that’s bacon at the buffet, the front seat at lecture, or the most coveted job
  • It’s about focusing when others are procrastinating
  • It’s about designing the future in your mind
  • It’s about grasping youth, embracing your energy, and channeling it toward something you truly believe in

It’s easy for a 48-year-old with 3 kids, a husband and mortgage to procrastinate her business idea. And understandably so. Not everyone is blessed with the gift of time, energy and a measurable degree of freedom.

But while you have freedom – as well as fewer responsibilities and far more energy, you should package that drive into a tangible idea, and create something amazing that solves a real problem.

If you’re a high schooler with above-average drive, and have a business or some other great endeavor on your mind, now is the time.

“The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago. The second best time is now” – Chinese Proverb

Now is the time, and help is the way.

Join one of the startup competitions and gain support from advisors, a rigorous program and an established institution.


The 3 Best Startup Competitions for High School Hustlers

1) The Diamond Challenge Venture Startup Competition


  • Who: By the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship at University of Delaware
  • When: Deadline is November 27, 2016
  • What
    • The Diamond Challenge provides a unique opportunity for teens to learn about entrepreneurship while putting their ideas into action. While some entrepreneurship programs focus on principles of management, the Diamond Challenge actually focuses on unleashing creativity, encouraging a mindset of abundance and self-determination, and promoting purposeful entrepreneurial action.
    • It was created by the University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship in 2012. The program is backed by serious academic grounding too, with state-of-the-art education methodologies.
  • Why
    • Over $100K in awards and business grants
    • It doesn’t require you to have a “business” – just an idea, an advisor, and cofounders
    • They’re doing a $500 sweepstakes for all entrants til this Friday, 11/25. Join it here.

2) Kidbacker Foundation for Entrepreneurship


  • Who: By the team at Hatchpad
  • When: Deadline is Rotational (open for application)
  • What
    • KidBacker Foundation for Entrepreneurship is a nonprofit committed to breaking down financial and educational barriers preventing young people ages 10 to 23 from engaging in business and entrepreneurship.
    • They offer business grants, academic scholarships and provide mentorship to qualified students 10 years and older, so they can learn how to start, launch, fund and run a business anytime, anywhere.
  • Why
    • Up to $50k in business grants available
    • Linked directly to a large platform for networking and startup community (Hatchpad)
    • Access to additional crowdfunding

3) Technovation


  • Who: By Iridescent
  • When: Deadline is March 8, 2017
  • What
    • Technovation offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Girls ages 10 to 18 learn to identify a problem in their community and create a mobile app solution to address that problem, and then learn how to communicate these ideas and translate them into a fully launched business.
  • Why
    • It’s specifically for girls 10 to 18, who want to build mobile apps
    • They’re partnered up with Google (Good networking)
    • Their startup themes are inspired by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Poverty, Environment, Peace, Equality, Education, Health


So, if you’re ready to take your idea to a whole new level, but you’re still in high school – one of these could be your ticket to the advising, practical skills and actual work needed to make it happen.

Keep in mind, two have due dates. The Diamond Challenge only has a few days left, so if you’re interested, make sure to join ASAP!

Good luck for those of you planning to pitch your ideas.

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