The Diamond Challenge, an entrepreneurship competition for high school students from around the world, recently concluded its three-day Summit from April 21-23, 2022. The Summit marked the culmination of the Diamond Challenge’s year-long program, where students develop solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges for a chance to engage and network with a global community of entrepreneurs and to compete for awards and monetary prizes.
This year’s participants numbered 2,000 teens and comprised 700 teams representing 37 countries and 28 states. Sixty-four semifinalist teams participated in the final rounds at the Summit, 42 in-person and 22 virtually.
A full list of the 2022 Diamond Challenge Summit semifinalist teams and team descriptions can be found here. Each team was awarded money to be used as venture funding or scholarship to a higher ed institution.
The winners of the Business Innovation Track included:
- 3rd Place (Tie) – $2,500: EcoPods – Florida, USA – Emma Gould, Isabella Koopman Alexandra Maxwell, Isabella Lotenberg, Keri Kolettis (Advisor)
- 3rd Place (Tie) – $2500: Pathway Immune – Pennsylvania, USA – Ashley Zhou, Andrew Ko, Gloria Jin (Advisor)
- 2nd Place – $7,500: Phish Byte – Florida, USA – Leonardo de Paoli, Joshua Trattler, Jacob Getson, Harry Sharma, Jesse DeVera (Advisor)
- 1st Place – $11,000: VORA – California, USA – Katherine Hua, Melody Yu, Haobo Yu (Advisor)
The winners of the Social Innovation Track included:
- 3rd place – $3,750: Chiron – Delaware, USA – Amanrai Kahlon, Suyash Singh, Ruhan Patel, Amrita Tailor, Mona Singh (Advisor)
- 2nd Place – $7,500: TuberculoSticks – Washington, USA (virtual) – Ria Mohan, Pragnya Gudipati, Lalitha Kasi (Advisor)
- 1st Place – $11,000: Terramica Plastic – Virginia, USA – Zhiyi Li, Myles Bao, Ben Woods, Guogang Li (Advisor)
The Topical Prize Awards recognize Diamond Challenge semifinalist teams that have shown significant promise and excellence in a particular field of entrepreneurial capacity. All Topical Prize Awards are sponsored by innovative companies investing in the next generation, and each award is accompanied by a $1,500 cash prize.
Topical Prize Awards and winners included the following:
The Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) DSWA Environmental Sustainability Prize is awarded to the teams who develop an advancement in the waste or recycling industries that fosters sustainability within both the community and the environment. The winners of this award were:
- Business Innovation: AgriVision – Virginia, USA – Sabrina Zhang, Winston Gan, Anthony Zhao, Ethan Zhang, Katherine Yang (Advisor)
- Social Innovation: StyrogradeAble – Canada (virtual) – Hanna Hong, Rally Lin, Jacob Marr, Sanskriti Shindakar, Susie Choi (Advisor)
The W.L. Gore Associates Innovation Excellence Prize is awarded to teams that best represent the application of technology to improving lives. The winners of this award were:
- Business Innovation: UltraVii – Georgia, USA – Michelle Li, Barnabas Li, Tianjie Lu, Jackson Huckaby (Advisor)
- Social Innovation: BRECARDA – Virginia, USA – Lynn Tao, Fiona Liao, Jane Chi (Advisor)
The Horn Entrepreneurship Equity Thru Entrepreneurship Prize is awarded to a team with the greatest potential to advance social justice and equal opportunity. The winner of this award is:
- OmniCreate – California, USA (virtual) – Anchal Bhardwaj, Jasmine Yuan, Samika Agarwal, Kedaar Rentachintala, Robert Wood (Advisor)
The Global Innovation Prize, powered by Horn Entrepreneurship, recognizes the top global teams that demonstrate entrepreneurship excellence and embody the true spirit of the Diamond Challenge. The winners of this award were:
- Business Innovation: PixFuser – India – Yashvardhan Gaur, Aarav Sharma, Gagandeep Singh, Chiranji Lal Mudgal (Advisor)
- Social Innovation: Nano-L – Thailand (virtual) – Mix Chaiyosburana, Jiranat Chaiyosburana, Stanley Holewa, Nutthaphol Khupsathianwong (Advisor)
In addition to the competition rounds, the Summit featured workshops, panel discussions with young entrepreneurs and innovation sprints. Workshop themes ranged from leadership with Dr. Tony Middlebrooks, associate professor at the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration, to personal branding with Rich Keller, CATALYST Effect Officer, Score. Panel discussions facilitated Q&A between aspiring teen entrepreneurs and young founders Lynn Roberts, Yuda; Sury Gupta, 360 VR Technology; and Bryce Fender, Wilminvest. Advisors, educators and parents engaged in lively discussion about advocating for entrepreneurship education with Felicia Harrington, who leads the entrepreneurship dual enrollment program (EntreX Lab) for Horn Entrepreneurship.
W.L. Gore & Associates ran two innovation sprints titled “Designing Your Ideal Working Environment.” The company asked the teens to work in teams to innovate and creatively present their view of an ideal work environment. The top team received $100 per person, the most creative team received $50 per person and the best pitch received $50 per person.
- Best Team Round 1: Krista Ma, Harry Sharma, Joshua Dabardy, Aryan Baldua
- Best Team Round 2: Sia Desale, Sahaana Rajagopalan, Myles Bao, Sabrina Zhang, Matthew Maratea
- Most Creative Round 1: Ashley Raigosa, Joshua Trattler, Mihir Relan, Alexandra Maxwell
- Most Creative Round 2: Ruhan Patel, Elaina Xiao, Ala Ghazaryan, Barrett Deng, Ethan Zhang
- Best Pitch Round 1: Daniel Shi, Sahib Nibber, Shivtej Lakkakula, Isheta Kulshreshtha, Jacob Getson
- Best Pitch Round 2: Caroline Zhang, Nathaniel Gao, Kavin Krishna, Nelly Gasparyan
The Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) also ran two innovation sprints named “Reducing Litter and Its Harmful Impacts.” DSWA asked teens to work in teams to devise and pitch a novel, cost-effective idea for reducing litter and its consequences. The top team received $100 per person, the most creative team received $50 per person and the best pitch received $50 per person.
- Best Team Round 1: Jason Lin, Ruhan Patel, Jessica Wang
- Best Team Round 2: Vedant Sharma, Arya Narayan, Ashley Zhou
- Most Creative Round 1: Wenshan Li, Michelle Li, Sharv Save
- Most Creative Round 2: Sophie Lin, Emma Gould, Zhiyi Li
- Best Pitch Round 1: Sebastien Burkhardt, Suyash Singh, Andrew Ko
- Best Pitch Round 2: Emily Ocasio, Jessica Ya, Michelle Ding
Horn Entrepreneurship and Diamond Challenge extends a special thanks to keynote speaker Markevis Gideon, co-founder of NERDiT NOW, Delaware representative of Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Campaign and an appearance on Shark Tank in October of 2019. Gideon told the semifinalists to talk in terms of what you will do and not what you hope to do and that determining your own destiny helps open the path to opportunity or “luck” if you want to call it that.
Thank you to the more than 300 judges who completed preliminary rounds up to and including award judgment from February through April during the Diamond Challenge qualifying rounds. A special thanks to Chris Burkhard, Victor Cushman, John Davis, Julie Frieswyk, Nicole Homer, Rich Keller, Susan Ledyard, Dave Liss, Noah Olson, Mike Parkowski, Chris Pickering, Bryan Pryor, Adriene Wallace, Meghan Wallace, Stephanie Johnnie, Regina Mitchell, Mark Crawford, Kurt Foreman, Tammy Good, Scott Malfitano, Bob Sassa, Alexis Slupe, Jenni Jones, Erica Nemser, Andrew Jordan, Rebecca Singer, Dylan Foley, Ben Jen, Brooks Pierce, Charuni Patibanda, Bob Francois and Chuck Creekmur.
The Diamond Challenge is made possible with the support of our sponsors: Capital One, CSC, Delaware Solid Waste Authority, and W.L. Gore & Associates. The Diamond Challenge is also grateful for the generous support of the Paul & Linda McConnell Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative. And finally thanks to all participants, advisors, partners and semifinalists for making the Diamond Challenge an unforgettable experience!
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.
At its founding in 2012, Horn Entrepreneurship launched a youth initiative to address major gaps in secondary entrepreneurship education. At the time, most existing youth programs focused on small business management. In contrast, Horn Youth has been built to focus on unleashing creativity, encouraging a mindset of abundance and self-determination, and promoting purposeful entrepreneurial action. Today, Horn Youth is internationally recognized and has a robust local and global ecosystem and a network consisting of more than 20,000 alumni, 1800 educators, and 60 organizations that catalyze entrepreneurship education and impact.