The Diamond Challenge is a premier entrepreneurial education competition.
Participants learn how to conceive and test new ideas for businesses and social enterprises.
View our video to learn more!
Three reasons to participate,
learn more above.
The Diamond Challenge offers an impactful, hands-on learning experience. Participants utilize a repeatable process for generating new ideas and building a business like a scientist. Working through this process develops participants’ creative, problem solving, and communication skills.
Entrepreneurial knowledge and skills can be used to start your own business, help established companies to innovate, and develop sustainable solutions to important social problems.
Connections provide advice, access to customers, employment opportunities, and more. As part of the process of developing a business idea, participants will make many new connections to get feedback on their ideas.
Participation is as easy as 1, 2, 3
Participation in the Diamond Challenge begins with FREE registration. Each team must have 2-4 student members and a teacher who is willing to advise them. Registration opens September 1, 2014.
Follow a custom curriculum based on the emerging science of entrepreneurship. It consists of 12 short videos, which guide you through the process of developing a new business concept.
Compete to Win
Teams prepare and submit a 3-5 page business concept and pitch their ideas to a panel of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Top teams earn a share of the $25,000 prize pool.
The Diamond Challenge is a real world business concept competition with an educational purpose. Participating students will work in teams of 2-4 to prepare and submit a written concept for a business or social enterprise. They will also prepare and deliver a 5-minute pitch and answer questions about their concept.
Panels of entrepreneurs and business executives will evaluate written submissions, pitches, and responses to questions in two rounds – a Preliminary Round and a Final Round. Preliminary Round sites have been selected in both Delaware and Maryland and 3 international locations, Kenya, Moldova and Tunisia. Top teams will advance to the Final Round at the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit to compete for funding that can be used to launch their proposed business or pursue higher education.
The Diamond Challenge was developed by a broad coalition of partners to provide high school students with an outstanding opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a viable career path and help them acquire valuable knowledge and skills.
Starting September 1, 2014, student teams can register to compete at specific Preliminary Round sites.
Seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders will be available to mentor individual teams. Most mentoring will occur via virtual office hour appointments.
All registration is on a first come, first served basis and will close in December 2014 or when we reach our limit on the number of teams that can participate, whichever comes first.
Preliminary Round: Concepts Due & Pitch Events
Written concepts are due at least one month prior to the Preliminary Round pitch and will be judged separately from the teams’ pitch performance. The two scores are combined for choosing the finalist team(s). The event details including time and date for each specific Preliminary Round site can be found on the corresponding registration pages. Note: Ability to pitch at each site will be based on capacity and additional locations may be added based on demand.
- DTCC Wilmington Campus, (Wilmington, DE): March, 6 2015 (snow date: TBD)
- DTCC Terry Campus, (Dover, DE): March 18, 2015 (snow date: March 24)
- DTCC Owens Campus (Georgetown, DE): March 18, 2015 (snow date: March 25)
- AACC (Arnold, MD): TBD
- HCC (Columbia, MD): TBD
- Nairobi: March 28, 2015
- ASEM, Chisinau: January 24, 2015
- Cogite Coworking Space, Tunis: February 14, 2015
- Tiblisi: March 13, 2015
The Final Round of the Diamond Challenge will be hosted by the University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship as a part of the first annual Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!). The event will be held at Trabant University Center in Newark, DE.
Prizes & Rules
Teams earning top prizes will have two options for receiving their awards: (1) as scholarship funding for higher education at any college or university, or (2) as seed funding to pursue their business idea.
Teams that pursue their ideas may also receive additional in-kind services (legal, accounting, incorporation, etc.).
The first place team will share a total award of $7,500. The team’s school and sponsoring teacher will also receive a contribution of $1,000 to fund entrepreneurial education initiatives at their school.
The second place team will share a total award of $5,000. The team’s school and sponsoring teacher will also receive a contribution of $750 to fund entrepreneurial education initiatives at their school.
The third place team will share a total award of $2,500. The team’s school and sponsoring teacher will also receive a contribution of $500 to fund entrepreneurial education initiatives at their school.
Social Impact Prize
Teams can choose to have their concepts considered for the Social Impact Prize, If they feel their team’s business concept promises to improve the social and economic wellbeing of people and their communities. Finalists in this category are awarded $500 and invited to participate in an online contest for a top overall prize of $2,500 and recognition at the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit on May 8, 2015.
Each team selected to compete in the final round of the Diamond Challenge will earn $500.
The curriculum for the Diamond Challenge has been designed to guide participants’ development of business concepts. It consists of a series of 12 brief videos less than 10 minutes each.
Each video is accompanied by a 1-page instructional guide that includes discussion questions, links to additional resources, and possible assignments. Click through titles in right column to review each.
This session addresses two general questions: what is entrepreneurship and what does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
This session highlights the idea that opportunities are everywhere and discusses how we can learn to recognize them and begin to think like an entrepreneur.
This session dispels the myth that some people just aren’t creative and discusses how to generate new ideas.
This supplemental video on creative thinking and idea generation includes the 100 uses of a drinking straw challenge.
This session discusses six different types of entrepreneurial businesses and the goals and characteristics associated with each type.
This session introduces the basic idea of starting with hypotheses about the customer, problem, and solution and gathering evidence to test these hypotheses.
This session introduces the notion that a business can be decomposed into basic parts and built one piece at a time.
This session focuses on the second basic building block of a business – the problem to which the customer must have a solution.
This session focuses on the importance of offering a solution with unique and desirable advantages relative to competitors’ product offerings.
This session addresses the fundamental concepts of unit cost, unit revenue, and unit margin to illustrate how businesses make money.