The Diamond Challenge is a premier entrepreneurial education competition.
Participants learn how to conceive and test new ideas for new businesses and social enterprises.
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 October 1, 2013.
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 new 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. Six Preliminary Round sites have been selected spanning 4 states (DE, MD, PA, & NJ) and 2 international locations, Kenya and Moldova. Top teams will advance to the Final Round 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.
Teams register to compete at specific Preliminary Round sites. Confirmed locations include the Wilmington, Terry, and Owens campuses of Delaware Technical Community College (DE), Salem County Community College (NJ), Cecil College (MD), Delaware County Community College (PA) and two international sites, Kenya and Moldova.
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 on January 22 or when we reach our limit on the number of teams that can participate, whichever comes first.
Written Concepts Due & Preliminary Round Events
Written concepts are due approximately 4 weeks prior to each team’s Preliminary Round pitch. The list below includes the presentation date & submission deadline for each specific site:
Delaware Technical Community College – Owens Campus (Georgetown, DE), March 5, 2014
Submission Deadline: 1/31/2014
Delaware County Community College (Media, PA), March 15, 2014
Submission Deadline 1/31/2014
Salem County Community College (Salem, NJ), March 21, 2014
Submission Deadline 1/31/2014
Cecil College (North East, MD), March 22, 2014
Submission Deadline 2/28/2014
Delaware Technical Community College - Terry Campus (Dover, DE), March 26, 2014
Submission Deadline: 2/28/2014
Delaware Technical Community College - Wilmington Campus (Wilmington, DE), March 29, 2014
Submission Deadline: 2/28/2014
The Final Round of the Diamond Challenge will be hosted by the University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship at Trabant University Center (Newark, DE).
Prizes & Rules
Prizes totaling more than $25,000 will be awarded.
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
The team that presents the concept with the greatest social impact potential will share a total award of $2,500.
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.
Overview of the Diamond Challenge
This session introduces the Diamond Challenge and provides some tips for success.
This session addresses two general questions: what is entrepreneurship and what does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
2. Opportunity Recognition
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.
3A. Ideation Supplement
This supplemental video on creative thinking and idea generation includes the 100 uses of a drinking straw challenge.
4. Types of Businesses
This session discusses six different types of entrepreneurial businesses and the goals and characteristics associated with each type.
5. Building a Business Like a Scientist
This session introduces the basic idea of starting with hypotheses about the customer, problem, and solution and gathering evidence to test these hypotheses.
6. The Business Concept
This session introduces the notion that a business can be decomposed into basic parts and built one piece at a time.
7. The Customer
This session focuses on the first basic building block of a business – the customer.
8. The Problem
This session focuses on the second basic building block of a business – the problem to which the customer must have a solution.
9. The Solution
This session focuses on the third basic building block of a business – the solution.
10. Unique Value Proposition
This session focuses on the importance of offering a solution with unique and desirable advantages relative to competitors’ product offerings.
11. Making Money
This session addresses the fundamental concepts of unit cost, unit revenue, and unit margin to illustrate how businesses make money.
Each team will have the opportunity to meet virtually with one mentor – a seasoned entrepreneur that will help you prepare for your presentation. Each mentoring session will last 20 minutes and will be facilitated through Skype. Read more about our mentors below. Mentoring sessions are available from November 5 – February 16. Register for a mentoring session now!
Rachel Braun Scherl
Strategy and Marketing Catalyst & Entrepreneur
A seasoned and dynamic executive, Rachel has focused on driving growth through innovation for a range of Fortune 100 clients, high-growth start-ups as well as her own businesses. Rachel has a B.A. in Psychology with a certificate in Human Development from Duke University and an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Director, University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship
Dan has transformed the Horn Program into the Mid-Atlantic’s preeminent entrepreneurial education provider and is a co-founder of Start It Up Delaware. He also teaches entrepreneurship at UD while leading efforts for the Diamond Challenge.
Co-founder & CEO, Voltaic Coatings, Inc.
Keith has taught entrepreneurship as part of the Startup Chile Incubator Program and has been honored as a Global Scholar by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Owner & Project Manager, Nuts and Bolts Web Design
NABWD.com has been helping to build small businesses and non-profits on the Web since 2004. Demetrius also works at the University of Delaware in IT for the College of Arts & Sciences.
Founder & Owner, Nemesis Autosport
In 2011, Danielle founded Nemesis Autosport, an automotive company specializing in after-market parts and accessories for primarily European and exotic vehicles, while she was earning her degree in Economics & Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Delaware. She encourages aspiring students who wish to pursue entrepreneurship as a career path.
Sales, Marketing and Business Development Executive
Catherine’s career has included senior management positions at several Fortune 500 companies. In addition, she has been involved in the growth of two mid-stage companies and one Internet startup.