The University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship announces the opening of registration for the 2016 Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurs.

The Diamond Challenge is a real world venture concept competition offering two competitive tracks – business concept and social venture.

The business concept competition focuses on the development of new, for-profit business models.

The social venture competition focuses the development of new, social impact models that may include revenue-generating nonprofit organizations and mission-driven, for-profit ventures.

Both competitions are supported by an innovative, video-based curriculum that teaches participants how to gather evidence to validate their ideas and “build their businesses and social ventures like a scientist.”

Registration and access to the curriculum are free. Simply visit

About Participation

Participants in the Diamond Challenge work in teams of 2-4 to gain valuable first-hand experience with: conceiving an idea for a new business or social venture, testing the idea by talking to potential customers and beneficiaries to gather evidence about the viability of their business or social impact model, and pitching their idea by submitting a written concept and presenting to a panel of judges.

Open to All High School Students

Students from around the world are eligible to participate if they: are enrolled in a secondary school or educational program, have a team with 2-4 students, and have a teacher, parent or community member who is willing to serve as the team’s advisor.

Unique Impact

Several aspects of the Diamond Challenge make it unique among entrepreneurship competitions and programs for youth, including:
Evidence-based entrepreneurship. The Diamond Challenge provides an age-appropriate introduction to state-of-the-art best practices for entrepreneurship, which focus on the use of evidence-based and lean startup methods.

  • Real world engagement. Participants have the opportunity to connect with mentors to benefit from their experiences. They are encouraged interview real prospective customers to gather evidence. And they receive feedback on their submissions from practicing entrepreneurs, business professionals and community leaders.
  • MORE than starting small businesses. Entrepreneurship is the process of creating, delivering and capturing value from new ideas. The Diamond Challenge’s Venturing for Good curriculum highlights the relevance of entrepreneurship to the development of sustainable solutions to important societal and environmental problems.
  • Pathways to higher education. The Diamond Challenge is produced by the University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship and offers supplemental opportunities for earning college credit. It also awards prize money to top teams that can be used to pursue further education at ANY college or university.
  • Connecting with like-minded peers. Final rounds of the Diamond Challenge competitions are hosted during a 2-day Youth Entrepreneurship Summit to facilitate the formation of lasting connections with like-minded peers from around the world.

About the Diamond Challenge

The University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship created the Diamond Challenge in 2012 with a twofold purpose: (1) to expose high school students to entrepreneurship as a viable career path, and (2) to provide high school students with an outstanding opportunity to learn about the entrepreneurial process while attempting to put their ideas for new businesses into action. Since its launch, almost 2,000 students from around the world have participated in the Diamond Challenge. The Diamond Challenge serves as the cornerstone for the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship’s Paul and Linda McConnell Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative.

NEW for 2016

Notable enhancements for the 2016 Diamond Challenge include:

  • Adding the Social Venture Competition track and “Venturing for Good” curriculum
  • Accepting video pitches from teams who cannot travel to a preliminary round regional/national site to expand access to all high school students
  • Expanding the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit, which includes the final pitch events for the Diamond Challenge, into a 2-day event
  • Doubling the total prize pool to more than $50,000



About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.

Follow Horn Entrepreneurship @udhorn and check out our entrepreneurship competition for high school students @diamondchalleng.