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External Competitions & Opportunities

Competitions held by other universities and organizations great ways for Washington University in St. Louis 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. 

  • Holekamp Seed Fund (apply now) $1,000 in seed funding awarded to student entrepreneurs to defray the initial costs of founding a business. Open to current WashU junior or senior undergraduates or graduate students. Must be a US citizen or permanent resident with 25% or higher ownership of a startup venture. Awards are approved on a rolling basis throughout the year until funds run out. 

  • Techconnect Ventures Open Challenge Sprints (apply by October 12) Techconnect Ventures connects emerging technology solvers to strategic innovation seekers fast through open challenge sprints. Active sprints include: AI for Home Management, Metaverse Technologies, EV Charging Infrastructure, Innovations in Connected Health and Wellness, and Advancements in Recycling of Electronic Devices. 
  • Red Bull Basement (apply by October 24) Red Bull Basement empowers student innovators to drive positive change through tech solutions. The most impactful, feasible and creative ideas will be invited to the Global Final. Teams describe their idea in a max 60-second video. Finalists will present their Final Pitch to the global judges. One idea will be declared Global Winner 2021, but everyone goes home with sharpened skills, fresh insights, and an expanded network.
  • UMSL Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Accelerator (apply by October 29) The UMSL Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Accelerator is a first-of-its kind program that puts underrepresented entrepreneurs at the center of a purpose-driven, university-led accelerator that begins with a non-dilutive $50,000 capital injection. The aim is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the St. Louis startup ecosystem by empowering diverse founders from underrepresented communities. 

  • Baylor New Venture Competition (apply by November 1) This business plan and elevator pitch competition showcases collegiate student created, managed and led ventures from across the globe. The competition provides participants with personal and professional development through: industry-specific mentorship towards sustainable business plans, exclusive access to accomplished experts and fellow innovators, and a chance to compete for over $250,000 in cash prizes and vital resources.
  • AWS US University Startup Competition (apply by November 1) Enter your startup into the AWS US University Startup Competition to win an equity-free cash prize to help fund your venture. The top 10 finalists will pitch their startups to a panel of investors and AWS Startup Team members at a final event, and three winners will be chosen for cash prizes and AWS credits. All startups that apply are eligible for $1,000 in AWS credits.

  • Equalize 2022 (apply by November 10) Equalize is a virtual mentor program and pitch competition designed to take national action around the disparity of women academic inventors forming university startups. Presented by the Washington University Office of Technology Management and Osage University Partners.
  • Beyond Boundaries Creative Collaborations Grant (apply by November 23) WashU undergraduate students across disciplines are encouraged to collaborate on a creative capstone project such as (but not limited to) a musical, play, dance, script, poetry, novel, musical work, art portfolio, film, animation, interactive website, blog, startup company, fashion line, or social impact initiative. Up to $1000 per application can be requested.

  • Black Funders of St. Louis (apply between February 1-28) BFSTL supports Black-led nonprofit organizations serving Black children, youth, adults, and families in the St. Louis metropolitan area primarily but not limited to St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Organizations are required to have an African American as the Executive Director, President, or corresponding lead position. Applicants may request up to $3,000.