Business competitions for young entrepreneurs

Group of teens sitting around a fountain

Business and competition go hand in hand, right? The goal of most business endeavors is to sell a product or service better than any other enterprise. And let's not forget how much any business owner and invested employee competes with themselves to perform better and better. 

So, it's easy to see why an actual business competition can be an appealing experience for any budding entrepreneur.

Especially with prizes and awards in the form of seed money, equipment, and expert guidance, kids and teens who have a grand idea or the drive to build something they can call their own have very good reason to explore one of the many events available to them. 

Please note that iD Tech has no affiliation with any of these events, and this listing does not serve as an endorsement. These are simply snapshots of the different events at this time. For up to date info, you’ll want to check each listed website for dates and other specifics. 

Business competitions in 2022

Check out the latest lineup of business competitions for kids and teens! These collaborative events are a wonderful way to kickstart your child's great ideas and encourage them to develop their entrepreneurial skillset. 

Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge

What: A business and technical competition that challenges students to identify a problem, build a solution, and design a path toward commercialization of the product.

What else: The Conrad Foundation was created by Nancy Conrad in honor of her late husband, Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. The famous astronaut believed that students are the key to creating the next commercially viable product that will help to support global sustainability and propel humanity.

Who: Teams of high school students (ages 13–18).

When: 2022 registration begins in August!

Where: The final Innovation Summit takes place at the Kennedy Space Center with a virtual option.

Prize: Various awards from sponsors. Check website for more details.

Get involved: http://www.conradchallenge.org/

Wharton Global High School Investment Competition

What: A free, online investment simulation for high school students. Students work in teams of four to seven, guided by a teacher as their advisor. Over the course of 10 weeks students develop an investment strategy, analyze industries and companies, and build a portfolio using $100,000 in virtual cash.

What else: Last year, over 1,300 teams from 64 countries competed in this event. 

Who: High school students in teams of 4-7.

When: Registration is live!

Get involved: https://globalyouth.wharton.upenn.edu/investment-competition/

Technovation Challenge

What: A 12-week challenge where teams of young women work with mentors to identify a problem in their community and develop a mobile app and launch a startup (completing everything from coding to writing a business plan).

What else: Technovation is the world’s largest technology entrepreneurship challenge for girls aged 10–18. It runs across 100+ countries.

Who: Girls aged 10–18

When: Registrations typically open in October and final submissions are due in April.

Where: Online.

Prize: Top students are chosen to attend the Technovation World Pitch Summit in Silicon Valley where they “pitch” their apps to industry professionals.

Get involved: http://technovationchallenge.org/

Bonus: Technovation strives to inspire girls to get involved in STEM and close the gender gap. For enrollees in Technovation, 58% of alumnae enroll in a further computer science class and 26% major in CS (that is 65x higher than the national rate)!

BizWorld YES Young Entrepreneur Success

What: BizWorld is an organization that offers a number of resources for budding entrepreneurs including curriculum, competitions, and virtual events. 

Who: High school students

When: Registration is live now! Events take place on a rolling basis.

Where: Online.

Prize: Prizes vary, but grand prizes have included $30,000 in seed money for winning business ideas!

Get involved: Check out all their programming here!

Intro to Investing: A Middle School Competition with Wharton Global Youth

What: Over the course of 10 weeks, kids will work in collaborative, 2-hour sessions to refine their strategy and build invaluable finance and investing skills. Students will transform their knowledge, engage in fun, real-world problem solving, and emerge with official skill certification.

Who: Middle school students.

When: Registration is live. Sessions begin in the fall!

Where: Online

Get involved: https://www.idtech.com/courses/virtual-academy-investing-middle-school-competition-wharton-global-youth

Young Entrepreneur Academy

What: Through YEA’s national chapters, kids can develop business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch their ideas to a panel of investors, and launch their businesses to bring their ideas to life! 

Who: Kids in grades 6-12

When: Registration is live now! Events take place on a rolling basis.

Where: Online.

Prize: Winners have the opportunity to pitch to big names in business, score funding for their ideas, travel to regional and national events, and more.

Get involved: Check out all their programming options here!

Launch X

What: Over the course of this rigorous program, high school students create business plans, iterate prototypes, and launch their own startup companies. 

Who: High school students

When: Apply now for the 2023 summer program! Financial assistance is available.

Where: Locations vary.

Prize: All participants get the opportunity to learn from leaders like industry experts, well-known entrepreneurs, and MIT professors. Winners of the competition score funding for their business.

Get involved: Learn more here!

VentureDash

What: VentureDash offers flexible formatting for business competitions for kids and teens. Participants get the opportunity to practice elevator pitches in a trade show format!

Who: Ages vary by competition

When: Competitions take place on a rolling basis: check out the most up to date schedule here!

Where: Locations vary, some competitions are offered online.

Prize: Varies by competition.

Get involved: Learn more here!

NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

What: The Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is an eight-month-long series of business plan and pitch competitions that take place at the local, regional, and national levels, and thousands of kids compete every year! The series culminates in a high-stakes national championship.

Who: High school students

When: Competitions take place on a rolling basis: check out the most up to date schedule here!

Where: Locations vary, some competitions are offered online. The national championship takes place in New York City each year. 

Prize: Varies by competition; for many competitions, advancing to the next round is the prize!

Get involved: Learn more here!

All kids should learn about entrepreneurship 

Building a business can be an enriching learning process in addition to a potentially lucrative hobby. Along the road to success, kids and teens can learn invaluable lessons in leadership, communication, innovation, and of course the wisdom behind the time-tested adage "If at first you don't succeed, try try again!". 

A photo of Ryan

Ryan manages blog content at iD Tech, starting with the company in 2008. He earned his MBA from Santa Clara University after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. Connect on LinkedIn!