The Competitions

The top 25 finalist teams from the online round will be invited to the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to compete in three live competitions: the Pitch Slam, Innovation Challenge, and the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge. Finalists will also have the opportunity to be considered for our two Special Recognition Awards.

Thursday: Pitch Slam!

Team Prizes:  1st – $10K | 2nd – $5K | 3rd – $2.5K

Welcome to e-Fest! 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 elevator pitches to fellow student competitors. Everyone in attendance will vote for the 3 venture teams they’d most want to meet with as a potential investor.


Friday: Innovation Challenge

Team Prizes: 1st – $20K | 2nd – $10K | 3rd – $5K

Following a morning of networking & workshops, Friday afternoon will serve as a change of pace. We’ll mix and match all the competitors into new teams of 4-5 students each. Teams will be given a surprise “challenge” and 3 hours to create an innovative solution.

When time is up, teams will set up their poster boards with their solutions and judges will roam around the room, listening to pitches and investing “bucks” along the way.

The 2021 topic was “innovation in the post-pandemic workplace”. In 2022, the topic is… find out next April!

Saturday: Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge

Team Prizes: 1st – $50K | 2nd – $30K | 3rd – $20K | 4th – $15K | 5th – $10K | Audience Choice Award: $1K
Qualifying Round 2nd and 3rd Place Teams: 2nd – $2500 | 3rd – $1000

Saturday morning will feature the semi-finals round (5 groups of 5 teams, each with a panel of 4-5 judges). One team from each group will advance 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.

Read: Competition rules, judging guidelines, faqs.

Special Recognition Awards

Social Impact Award:  $10K     Global Impact Award:  $10K

Teams that submit entries for e-Fest will be able to apply for consideration for two additional cash prizes, for social and global impact. To qualify for one or both awards, teams will provide an impact statement along with their submission. This impact statement should explain how the venture is mission-driven and can help move the needle in social or global contexts. From among the top 25 finalists considered for each award, a dedicated group of judges will review and score submissions to determine the two winners.

The prize amounts shown above are cash (check) payments divided equally among team members in attendance at e-Fest and paid directly to each individual on the winning teams.* Our hashtag: #efest2022


* The IRS will treat prize winnings as taxable miscellaneous income, see IRS Publication 525

e-Fest is presented by and the Richard M Schulze Family Foundation. Our mission at is to improve the success rates of new ventures by promoting exceptional entrepreneurship teaching and thought leadership.