Skandalaris Center

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External Competitions & Opportunities

Competitions held by other universities and organizations are a great way for Washington University entrepreneurs and ventures to win prizes and gain national recognition. Below is a list of competitions and opportunities that are currently open. If you have any questions about applying or need help with the application please schedule a venture development meeting, where a member of our team can help you through the process. 

  • mHUB Accelerator Program (apply by December 22) The mHUB Accelerator is a six-month long, cohort-based accelerator program focused on the product development and commercialization of early-stage, high-potential hardtech startups. The program includes prototyping and product development, business modeling, piloting, and mentorship. The fourth cohort of the mHUB Accelerator is focused on cutting-edge Medical Devices with the
    potential to transform healthcare.
  • Heartland Challenge Startup Competition (application opens January 9) Through the University of Arkansas, this program is designed to simulate the process of raising venture capital for a high-growth venture. The competition allows students to gain valuable experience and networking opportunities, while developing new ventures that may be based on their own ideas/technologies or those developed by others.
  • WashU Olin's Big IdeaBounce® (apply by January 15) WashU Olin’s 2nd annual BIG IdeaBounce®, powered by Poets&Quants, is a pitch contest open to all current undergraduate and graduate school students OR any prospect interested in pursuing a graduate business school degree. There are three rounds to the competition, which begins with submitting your idea in an easy-to-complete online form. Next, the top 20 teams will submit a two-minute pitch video. The final three teams will present their business plans in front of a panel of judges on Washington University’s campus in March.
  • New Ideas: A Dialogue Project Competition (apply by January 18) Sponsored by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, this competition is seeking undergraduates to share proposals for how a company, set of companies or industry sector can have positive impact on a specific community, population, location, industry or the environment at large.
  • 2023 Tulane Business Model Competition (apply by January 20) This competition awards funding to early-stage student ventures that can demonstrate how they are adapting to their customers’ needs. In 2022, the three finalists split a cash prize of $125,000. The contest rewards founders who are creating commercially viable ventures through breaking down an idea into a key business model hypothesis, who have tested their assumptions with customers and who have applied Customer Development/Lean Startup principles to refine the model for improved success.

  • Energy Tech University Prize (Energy TechUP) (apply by January 26) Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), EnergyTech UP aims to cultivate the next generation of energy innovators while accelerating the transfer of energy technologies to market. Student teams compete for a total of $370,000 in cash prizes as they explore business opportunities for lab-developed or other high-potential energy technologies, assess commercialization opportunities through market analysis, and present a viable business plan to industry judges.

  • TCU's Values and Ventures Competition (apply by February 1) The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at TCU's Neeley School of Business are empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs. Undergraduate students from around the world are encouraged to pitch ideas for conscious capitalism ventures that make a profit while also solving a problem. The 2023 competition will award student ventures with cash prizes totaling more than $100,000.

  • Draper Competition (apply by February 10) A national business plan competition designed as an on-ramp for women founders seeking access to networks, capital, and resources. There is a chance to earn $100,000 in equity and interest-free prize money.
  • Get up to $2500 to fund a grant writer for your SBIR (apply now) Missouri Small Business Development is offering a Phase 0 FAST Grant to fund up to $2500 toward a grant writer/consultant for your Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or STTR grant submission. Must have an SBIR/STTR grant-worthy technology and complete the necessary market and customer research to qualify. For more information reach out to our Innovation & Technology Counselor, Ed Lahue at
  • SLUStart I-Corps (apply now) The SLUStart I-Corps program, underwritten by the National Science Foundation, provides a free collaborative environment for you and your team to push and test your ideas.  Using customer discovery allows you to refine your idea, discovery what problems to focus on and what your customers value. We guide you through a proven method to recognize customer needs and understand the value of your products or services. You will end up with an actionable business model. By participating in SLUStart I-Corps you can get help pursuing your innovation or new venture concept and possibly qualify for $2,000 locally.
  • Greater St. Louis Inc. Diverse Business Accelerator (apply now) For ethnically, racially, and gender-diverse business owners looking to advance their enterprise’s capacity to grow. In the span of three months, program participants will learn how to develop actionable business expansion goals, market and communicate their services, make meaningful business connections, and identify the capital and resources required to support growth.
  • Catapult (apply now) The Catalyst @ PennGSE virtual accelerator, Catapult, transforms education entrepreneurship. From idea to scale, we help companies shape, develop, and deploy innovative, proven solutions to meet critical educational challenges. Catapult features high-quality educational content and tailored recommendations to help your venture take the next steps. Register for the chance to earn $25,000 in validation grants through Catapult's Advanced Member track.