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What is it? Why should I participate? How do I participate?

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 closes November 7, 2014.

Register Now!


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.

View Curriculum

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.

See Prizes & Rules

Our Partners


2014 Diamond Challenge WinnersThe 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.

Delaware Technical & Community College Delaware Department of Education Junior Achievement Delaware University of Delaware Center for Economic Education & Entrepreneurship

StartUpAfrica Invento University of Delaware Horn Program in EntrepreneurshipCogite - coworking space - community - workshop

Anne Arundel County Public Schools Anne Arundel Community College Howard Community College


September 2015

Registration Opens

Registration Opens

From September – November 2015,  student teams can register to compete in the Business Concept or Social Venture competitions.


November 2015

Registration Deadline

All registration is on a first come, first served basis and may vary depending on your regional pitch sites. All registration will close by November 30, 2015.


December 2015 - January 2016

Preliminary Round Submission Deadline

Participant Workshop

Teams participating in the Business Concept and Social Venture competitions are required to submit a written concept. Submission deadlines may vary depending on your regional pitch site. Teams participating in the virtual track of the Business Concept competition will also be required to submit a video pitch along with their written concept.

January - March 2016

Business Concept Preliminary Round Pitches

Written Concepts Due

Teams participating in the Business Concept competition pitch their concepts in-person to a panel of judges in the following locations:

  • Wilmington, Delaware, United States
  • Dover, Delaware, United States
  • Georgetown, Delaware, United States
  • Arnold, Maryland, United States
  • San Francisco, California, United States
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Kampala, Uganda
  • Kigali, Rowanda
  • Mbabane, Swaziland
  • Tunis, Tunisia
  • Tblisi, Georgia
  • Chisinau, Moldova

At least one team from each location will advance to the semi-final round, which will be held at YES! in April 2016.

February 2016

Social Venture Semi-final & Final Rounds

Teams in the Social Venture competition advancing to the next round will be invited to submit a video pitch. The top video pitches will be selected for public online voting during the Final Round. The top team with the most online votes will be awarded a trip to attend the Youth Entrpreneurship Summit (YES!) to showcase their venture. YES! will be held in Newark, Delaware, United States on April 14 & 15, 2016.

April 14 & 15, 2016

Business Concept Semi-final & Final Rounds

The Semi-final & Final Rounds of the Business Concept competition will be hosted by the University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship as a part of the second annual Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!). The event will be held at Clayton Hall in Newark, Delaware, United States.Final Round

Prizes & Rules

View or Download Your Participation ToolkitPrizes 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.).

First Prize

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.

Second Prize

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.

Third Prize

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 April 30, 2015.

Finalist Prizes
Each team selected to compete in the final round of the Diamond Challenge will earn $500.

Click on the titles to view each video!


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.


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 below about our previous mentors.

Patrick Finnegan

Patrick Finnegan
Founder, ONMSG & World State

As a high school student, Patrick and his friend and business partner Luke Baumann founded ONMSG, a brand management company that specializes in social media targeted at young adults. Currently Patrick works in a start-up accelerator in Portland, Oregon where he has a co-working space with Upworthy and Wordpress while finishing school work online.

Zachary Jones

Zachary Jones
Entrepreneurship Student, University of Delaware

Zachary Jones is a Sophomore at the University of Delaware studying Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation. He is interested in technology, the internet, music discovery and sports. He has worked on business ideas in the field of social media, medical prognostic devices and consulting high school students on college decisions. He also has experience in communications, public relations and marketing.

Christopher Kilgus

Christopher Kilgus
Graduate Assistant, the Horn Program of Entrepreneurship

Chris Kilgus currently serves as a Graduate Assistant in the Horn Program of Entrepreneurship while he pursues his MBA from the University of Delaware. Chris’ professional and academic experience is primarily in public relations and marketing, specifically email marketing, social media marketing, and press release writing & distribution. For the Horn Program, Chris promotes events and assists with a multitude of marketing projects. At Punch Media, a burgeoning PR firm in Philadelphia, Chris helped the city’s top restaurants and retailers get noticed in leading industry publications.

Demetrius Pinder

Demetrius Pinder
Owner & Project Manager, Nuts and Bolts Web Design 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.

Danielle Whitaker

Danielle Whitaker
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.

Catherine Williams

Catherine Williams
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.

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Are you ready to take the Challenge?

Register now to take advantage of resources and contacts to develop your own real world business concept and then enter to compete for cash prizes.

 Register Now!