Startup competitions for young entrepreneurs

Steven Loeb · March 29, 2019 · Short URL:

They include Pitch YEA!, Montana Teenpreneur Challenge and Student Startup Madness

If you're a startup seeking opportunities to get funded, educated or connected, startup competitions are a great resource.

Vator has been holding its own competitions, using VatorX, to find and filter for the best startups. We've had some very successful and notable winners in the past that have gone on to raise big funding rounds including Thumbtack, DogVacay, Pokitdok, Grovo, Udemy and Apartment List, to name a few.

Anyone can list their program as VatorX is one of the most comprehensive listing guides to startup competitions, challenges, accelerators and programs. Click here to list your program!

As part of our weekly series, we'll look at top competitions with big cash prizes, as well as competitions that have teed up the most promising startups, to finding popular startup competitions you need to know about. 

Here are some of the startup competitions for young entrepreneurs:


Description: "Students from far and wide were invited to submit their idea and we’ve selected the top three from: 8 and under, 9-13, and 14-18 to take the stage! Just like at “adult” pitch offs our “bosses” will be judged on the problem/need, solution they offer, feasibility, their market advantage, possible revue stream, and delivery."


All Finalist Will Receive:

  • 3 Month Pass to the SKC Co:Lab (valued at $225) donated by: Start-Up Kids Club
  • Featured on the Platforms online eCommerce store for one year (valued at $300) donated by: The Platforum
  • Surprise Prize donor to be revealed

Category Winners Will Receive:

  • Additional 3 Month Membership to the Co:Lab (six months total; valued at $450) donated by Start-Up Kids Club
  • 30 second commercial (valued at $1500) and $500 graphic design budget donated by HG DMA
  • Two 90-minute Consultations (three hours total) on ”Marketing Strategy and Systems” based on the principles of Duct Tape Marketing to help outline or refine the winners’ marketing plans.  (valued at $500) donated by Tylerica Marketing Systems
  • A Basic Business WordPress Website of up to 6 pages that will serve as the hub of their online presence, plus hosting for one year.  (valued at $2,750)donated by Tylerica Marketing Systems. *For two winners who are NOT the overall winner

Overall Winner Will Receive:

  • Additional 6 Month Membership to the Co:Lab (one year membership valued at $900) donated by Start-Up Kids Club
  • 30 second commercial (valued at $1500), 60 second promotional video (valued at $3000), a $1500 graphic design budget, an eCommerce website (valued at $7500) and a five hour social media/marketing consultation (valued at $500) donated by HG DMA
  • A video Business Card asset (valued at $2750) donated by TAKE ATX Production
  • Business Development Tool for one year (valued at $300) donated by: The Platforum

Previous winners: Not specified


Description: "Entrepreneurship 1 students can enter local and national pitch competitions for a chance to win seed capital to launch a business or pursue educational goals"

Prize: 1,000 in prize money

Previous winners: Kinky Kaps, Study Buddy, What the Fish


Description: "Montana Teenpreneur Challenge is an investment in Montana's next generation of business innovators and community leaders."

Prize: Cash prizes of $2,500

Previous winners: Reduce Onset Concussion "ROC" Guards, Leave Alert, Trash Dash, Elk Horn Express, The Clemper by Cleanse, ZB Braiding


Conrad Challenge

Description: "We give students between the ages of 13-18 the chance to become entrepreneurs and apply innovation, science and technology to solve problems with global impact. Guided by teachers and industry experts, the competition becomes a master class in collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication. The result: students develop skills needed to thrive in the 21st century workforce and bring to life commercially-viable innovations that have the potential to change life for the better on the individual, national and global levels."

Prize: Winning teams receive awards, seed funding grants, investment opportunities, patent support, business services and scholarships to support the growth of their concepts into real businesses that can make real difference.

Previous winners: ConvergenSeat, EnerX Systems, BOREAL, Autovision Technologies, Katang Labs, Protective Eyez


Description: "In 2009, our Founding CEO, Ahmad Ashkar had a compelling idea—leverage the crowd to generate startup ideas from young people to sustainably solve the world’s most critical social challenges. Through the help of Hult, he acted on it. Today, the Hult Prize Foundation is the world’s biggest engine for the launch of for-good, for-profit startups emerging from university with over 2500 staff and volunteers around the world. "

Prize$1 Million Seed Funding Award

Previous winners: One Laptop Per Child, m.Paani, Sunny Money


International Business Model Competition

Description: "The International Business Model Competition is the first and largest lean startup competition in the world. Our primary aims are to inspire and educate smarter student entrepreneurs who launch validated ventures that last."


  • Grand Prize - $40,000
  • Second Place - $25,000
  • Third Place - $15,000
  • Fourth Place - $10,000
  • Fifth Place - $8,000
  • Sixth through Tenth Place - $5,000
  • Eleventh through Twentieth Place - $3,000
  • Twenty First through Fortieth Place - $2,500

Previous winners: Beasc Technologies, Instapath, SwineTech, Kaitek Labs, Veritas Medical


Student Startup Madness

Description: "Student Startup Madness (SSM) is a nationwide tournament-style competition for college student digital media startups, culminating with the “Entrepreneurial Eight” national finals at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive in March."

Prize: Not specified

Previous winners: Worksense Analytics, Suna Breakfast, Resonado


Young Americans Center

Description: "Each year we scour the state of Colorado for the best youth-owned businesses. These young entrepreneurs, ages 6 to 21, complete a competition application, and then our panel of judges selects a winner and two finalists for each age category."

Prize: Winners receive up to $5,000, and finalists receive up to $500. Winners are also paired with a leading business owner from the Colorado community.

Previous winners: The Lucky Penny, Rudspice, Elevation Creations

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