Home Of The Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge

The Competitions

Compete at e-Fest® to win your share of $215,000

e-Fest® is an action-packed three-day celebration of undergraduate entrepreneurship featuring workshops, networking and three separate competitions awarding up to $215K in cash prizes.

Becoming one of the 25 e-Fest finalist teams is an elite recognition in itself. But wait there’s more! Finalist teams’ network with the top student entrepreneurs from across the nation, promote their businesses to news organizations across the country, attend development workshops by industrial leaders, meet Richard M. Schulze, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Best Buy and take home a portion of $215,000 in cash prizes!

Students will participate in multiple competitions over the three-day event – the Pitch Slam! where one member from each team will give a 90-second elevator pitch on their business venture, the Innovation Challenge, where teams comprised of students across participating universities will develop a solution to a specific issue, and finally, the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge, the business plan competition where teams compete for their share of $125k in cash. In total, among the four competitions, $215k in cash is awarded, making e-Fest one of the largest undergraduate student business plan competitions in the world.

Online Submissions

e-Fest kicks off with an online submission round beginning in mid-February. Student teams submit their pitch using the e-Fest online portal, highlighting their business venture with a slide deck and video presentation. Online Judges will review the video and slides for a batch of up to 10 student team ventures. The judging rubric has nine criteria, each with a 5-point scale (from excellent to poor). The goal is to identify teams with the most compelling venture pitches and ideas, and which could compete most effectively if invited to the live presentation rounds. Based upon scores from the initial judging round, the field of competitors is narrowed to 25 finalist teams that are invited to compete at the in-person event in Minneapolis, MN April 27-29, 2023.

The e-Fest Competitions

Thursday

Pitch Slam!

1st Place: $10,000
2nd Place: $5,000
3rd Place: $2,500

We hit the ground running on Thursday evening. After a welcome by Dick Schulze, the 25 finalist teams will each get 90 seconds to deliver their business plan elevator pitches to fellow student competitors. Teams must elect one person to deliver their pitch. No slides may be used during the pitch slam, just a verbal pitch. Everyone in attendance will vote for the 3 venture teams they would most want to meet with as a potential investor.

Friday

Innovation Challenge

1st Prize: $20,000
2nd Prize: $10,000
3rd Prize: $5,000

On Friday, we’ll mix and match all the student competitors into new teams of 4-5 students each. Then, we’ll provide a challenge, and teams will have 3 hours, some creative supplies, and their brainpower to come up with the best solution. Advisors will have the chance to hear teams pitch their business solutions and vote on their favorites. The 3 teams with the most votes will win cash prizes!

The Innovation Challenge was my favorite memory because I was able to meet 3 other incredible founders and create an incredible solution, LinkedUp. That challenge was incredibly eye-opening because I realized how much of a skill being an entrepreneur really is.

Nicole Toole, e-Fest 2022 – Social Impact Award and 1st Place Innovation Challenge
ECGO (fka Conserve)
Georgia State University

Saturday

Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge

Championship Round
1st Prize: $50,000
2nd Prize: $30,000
3rd Prize: $20,000
4th Prize: $15,000
5th Prize: $10,000

Qualifying Round
2nd Prize (x 5 teams): $2,500
3rd Prize (x 5 teams): $1,000

Saturday morning will feature the finals round. One team from each group will advance from the finals round to the championship round on Saturday afternoon with a new set of judges. The morning finals will be closed to spectators, but the championship round will be open to watch. Team presentation times and room assignments will be provided with your welcome packets on Thursday.

Teams will be grouped into teams of 5 and present their business plans to a panel of 4-5 judges. Presentation format: 15-minute presentation / 15-minute Q&A and feedback / 5-minute transition. Following the last pitch, judges will deliberate and rank teams from first to fifth place. The teams winning first place from each judging group will move on to the Championship Round.

Saturday Night

Special Recognition Awards

Social Impact Award: $10,000
Global Impact Award: $10,000

Teams that submit entries for e-Fest® will be able to apply for consideration for two additional cash prizes, for social and global impact. These teams’ ventures are mission-driven and can help move the needle in social or global contexts. Winners have been selected in advance and will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday.

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