Horn Entrepreneurship

The Diamond Challenge was created through Horn Entrepreneurship, a cornerstone for entrepreneurial activity based at the University of Delaware. Because of the generous contributions made by Paul and Linda McConnell, we are able to provide high school students around the world with opportunities to experience entrepreneurship first hand. We empower students in high school and beyond through entrepreneurial education and enrichment opportunities in order for students to create, capture, and deliver value from new ideas, regardless of their future career path. To learn more about how Horn can help you in your journey, click here.

The team

Dan Freeman

Director, Horn Entrepreneurship

Julie Frieswyk

Manager, Youth Programs

Rachel Strauss

Program Coordinator, The Diamond Challenge 

Linda You

Program Assistant, The Diamond Challenge 

Chuck Liddiard

West Coast Youth Entrepreneurship Coordinator, The Diamond Challenge 

Meet your 2018 Student Ambassadors!

Amiran Aptsiauri

International Student Advisory Board

Tbilisi, Georgia

“Create your future from today.”

Ashley Phuong

International Student Advisory Board

San Jose, California

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Divya Pinnaka

International Student Advisory Board

Memphis, Tennessee

“I believe entrepreneurship education is a must in the 21st century. Being an ambassador is one way I can contribute to this movement of young entrepreneurs. The Diamond Challenge has allowed me to explore and apply myself outside the classroom. I feel capable of making a real change in this world after exposure to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education.”

Giorgi Shelegia

International Student Advisory Board

Tbilisi, Georgia

“The Diamond Challenge is a great opportunity to challenge yourself.The Diamond Challenge changed my life for the better and now i’m here to make sure it does the same for others. “

Levan Jaliashvili

International Student Advisory Board

Rustavi, Georgia

“If everyone ever asks me, “What’s main success in your life?”, I would answer – “The Diamond Challenge”, without any doubt. This program gave me the best experience, knowledge, friends from all over the world and really helped me to find my future profession.”

Lucy Liu

International Student Advisory Board

Irvine, California

“Being a DC Ambassador, I really hope to be part of the inner-workings behind the competition that changed my high school entrepreneurship experience and bring this experience to high school students who want to pursue what entrepreneurship really is, rather than simply admiring those who are successful.”

Max Mindich

International Student Advisory Board

Greenwich, Connecticut

“The Diamond Challenge has provided a vehicle to express my entrepreneurial passions, ideas, and pursuits.”

Mikayla Purnell

International Student Advisory Board

Newark, Delaware

“I am so proud to participate in a program that uplifts people my age to do what we’ve always been told we’re too young to accomplish! Your age has no bearing on your fitness to follow your dreams, so less waiting and more innovating!”

Minyi Jiang

International Student Advisory Board

Tacoma, Washington

“The Diamond Challenge has pushed me toward my passion for entrepreneurship and communication. I have gained so much good experience from my participation in the last event. It is a great opportunity that every young person should absolutely try and make a change!”

Miracle Olatunji

International Student Advisory Board

New Castle, Delaware

“My participation in the Diamond Challenge and summit has strengthened my leadership skills. Youth entrepreneurship education and promotion is especially important to our fast-paced, ever-changing world where youth are the next generation. Furthermore, through my participation in this program, I’ve learned that entrepreneurial thinking can be applied to many, if not all, aspects of life and the skills I’ve learned through participating in this program will stick with me for a lifetime.”

Mikayla Purnell

International Student Advisory Board

Newark, Delaware

“I am so proud to participate in a program that uplifts people my age to do what we’ve always been told we’re too young to accomplish! Your age has no bearing on your fitness to follow your dreams, so less waiting and more innovating!”

Minyi Jiang

International Student Advisory Board

Tacoma, Washington

“The Diamond Challenge has pushed me toward my passion for entrepreneurship and communication. I have gained so much good experience from my participation in the last event. It is a great opportunity that every young person should absolutely try and make a change!”

Sierra RyanWallick

International Student Advisory Board

Landenberg, Pennsylvania

“The Diamond Challenge and summit were a life-changing experience for me because it showed me that my main passion in life is social entrepreneurship.  Winning 3rd Place in the Social Venture track validated my ideas, and I met many supportive and inspiring people during my Diamond Challenge journey that have encouraged me to follow my passion. My main goal in life is to positively impact as many lives as possible and change the world for the better.  The Diamond Challenge has set me on a track to accomplish my life goal, and I am very thankful for the opportunities this experience has given me!”

Sravya Basvapatri

International Student Advisory Board

Exton, Pennsylvania

“I find that being in an environment surrounded by students just as ambitious as I am motivates me and inspires me to achieve at higher levels. That is exactly the experience I found with the Diamond Challenge. I would like to empower other students who are bubbling with ideas to discover similar experiences. I would like to help encourage others to put their own ideas into action.”

Vignesh Sivaprakasam

International Student Advisory Board

Dublin, California

“It is my goal to spread entrepreneurial awareness one step at a time.”

Vivian Cai

International Student Advisory Board

San Diego, California

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”

Yash Kshirsagar

International Student Advisory Board

Pune, India

“The Diamond Challenge was a life-changing experience. It gave me the motivation I needed to take initiative and achieve my potential. This kind of exposure, especially for us as teenagers, is very rare to come by. I want more young entrepreneurs to get the kind of learning opportunities and inspiration that I did. The Diamond Challenge is a golden opportunity. Don’t miss it!”

Yousef Sheikh

International Student Advisory Board

Middletown, Delaware

“Not only has the Diamond Challenge given me a base to start my own companies, but it has allowed me to make invaluble connections in multiple industries.”

Our Student Advisory Board

Alberto Casas

Newark, Delaware

“The Diamond Challenge changed my outlook on mankind for the better. This program showed me that human perseverance can thrive in any environment, no matter the obstacles.”

Alexander Burt

Scottsdale, Arizona

“Participating in the Diamond Challenge is like investing in the stock market; both take a significant amount of research and time investment up front, but they can pay off tremendously in the end. The abundant resources, international connections, and immense feedback from the Diamond Challenge furthered my passion for business and entrepreneurial spirit, and I encourage anyone who has a chance to take part in it.”

Andrew Tong

Bellaire, Texas

“Before the Diamond Challenge experience, I thought entrepreneurs were just a title given to those who had no job. But, after going through the curriculum, developing my own product, and networking with others at the summit, I can say that being an entrepreneur is something truly great.”

Andrew Yu

The Woodlands, Texas

“The Diamond Challenge has exposed me to a community of young entrepreneurs and given me valuable networking opportunities with industry leaders and entrepreneurs.”

Daniel Huang

Morgan Hill, California

“Throughout high school, I have entered multiple entrepreneurship competitions, but the Diamond Challenge was the one that started it all. Through the Diamond Challenge, I was able to learn how to be a professional whether it be writing reports, making presentations, or the way I dress. The Diamond Challenge has helped me grow and uncover my passion for business, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of my experience.”

Arina Safronova

Kyiv, Ukraine

“Diamond Challenge creates an atmosphere in which responsibility, training, recognition and joy are ensured. This is the exact atmosphere, in which ideas are born.”

Harshika Jha

Plano, Texas

“The Diamond Challenge isn’t your quintessential competition– it’s a platform that compromises of ideas and resources, and overall one of the most enriching entrepreneurial experiences so far”

Lynn Noh

Irvine, California 

“If my friend ever tells me, ‘I do not know what I am living for right now,’ I would tell them to work on an entry for the next year’s Diamond Challenge. Everyone has a time when they are lost and do not know what to do with their unique ideas and interests, but the Diamond Challenge is an opportunity for youth to actively engage in developing and sharing their ideas. The Diamond Challenge helped me be motivated even further for my interests in entrepreneurship and business.”

Kakooza Hakim

Bukoto, Uganda

“Diamond Challenge enlighted me in entrepreneurship during my participation last year which also enabled me to network with different people all over the world, The webinars were so intuitive and encouraging. I think it was one of my best moments to participate in Diamond Challenge 2018 because it developed my understanding and perspectives towards entrepreneurship and also I would like to encourage more students from all over the world to participate in Diamond Challenge.”

Minyi Jiang

Tacoma, Washington

“The things I have learned and the experiences I have had got me in to a real business world. I feel a full engagement in the global community. I think this experience helped me to shape my interest and my ways of thinking, and it showed me where my potentials are. I have met so many great people from all around the world, and it is truly a supportive community.”

Nishka Ayyar

Saratoga, California

“My proudest moment in high school was winning 2nd place at the Diamond Challenge competition. Being able to stand on that stage and smile alongside like-minded entrepreneurs at one of the most influential conferences (The Diamond Challenge Summit) I had ever been to was such a rewarding experience, and one I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

Saman Verma

Bear, Delaware

“I have participated in the Diamond Challenge since the ninth grade. The amount in which I have grown as a result of the Diamond Challenge is extraordinary. This program provided me with insights on how to succeed in an increasingly competitive world.”

Shobha Dasari

The Woodlands, Texas

“For most of high school, I have wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t exactly know what that meant. Because of the Diamond Challenge, I have had the opportunity to learn— and even gain firsthand experience— about what it really means to be an entrepreneur. The Diamond Challenge has also given me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who are also interested in entrepreneurship, and I still keep in contact with some of these people.”

Tara Balu

Hockessin, Delaware

“The Diamond Challenge believed in me and my vision. It taught me to execute, present, and follow through with my ideas. The Diamond Challenge did not dismiss me as another idealistic teenager, but, instead, welcomed me as an insightful and motivated member of a new generation that wants to change the world. Furthermore, the Diamond Challenge introduced me to men and women that now serve as my role models.”

Valentina Maza

New Castle, Delaware

“Two years ago I never thought I had the ability to advocate for my passion. But the Diamond Challenge was a before and after in my life that showed me that everything is possible through hard work.”

Why We Do What We Do

The Paul & Linda McConnell Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative

was launched in 2014 to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurial thinkers and includes the Diamond Challenge, our annual Diamond Challenge Summit, dual enrollment opportunities, and professional development programs.

Youth offerings are based on the emerging science of entrepreneurship – a combination of academic research as well as real-world and industry best practices – Since 2012, tens of thousands of young people have participated in our youth programs. You can learn more about the initiative by visiting the Horn website.

Unique Impact

Evidence-based entrepreneurship

Learning to be entrepreneurial

Real-world engagement

MORE than starting small businesses

Pathways to higher education

Connecting with like-minded peers

Our Pitch Event Hosts