Apply Now for the 2018 VE Venture Challenge

From Simulation to Startup

The purpose of the VE Venture Challenge is to allow VE students to pitch their unique real business concept to a panel of leading entrepreneurs — who are titans in their industry — at VEI’s annual Gala on April 18, 2018 in New York City. Budding entrepreneurs will be able to transform their concepts into viable businesses through mentorship, education, financial support, and real-world business opportunities.

View the VE Venture Challenge Presentations at the 2017 Gala

Application Process

Round 1: Preliminary Round

Teams of 1-3 students may apply to enter the Challenge. The designated team leader must complete the online application found below. The application consists of relevant business questions and a one-minute Video Pitch, which must be submitted by 5:00 PM, Friday, January 5, 2018.

Round 1 entries will be evaluated by VEI staff, who will provide feedback and might ask for clarifying questions. All entries will be kept confidential. After VEI staff reviews Round 1 submissions, ten (10) semi-finalist teams will be selected to advance to Round 2 and will be notified by January 19, 2018.

Round 1 Video Pitch Guidelines: 

The 60-second video pitch should include the following information.

  • An engaging introduction.
  • The problem that the product/service is trying to solve.
  • How the product/service is going to solve the problem.
  • A description of the potential customers.
  • Why the product/service is better than those of the competition.
  • Why their team is the best to lead the company to success.

Sample Video Pitches:

Apply Now for VE Venture Challenge

Round 2: Semi-Final Round

The ten (10) semi-finalist teams will be asked to provide more detail about their business idea by February 8, 2018. Three (3) finalist teams will be selected to advance to the Final Round and will be notified by February 15, 2018.

Final Round: 2018 Gala Presentations

The three (3) finalist teams will be invited to give their pitch presentations at the Gala on April 18, 2018 in New York City. Finalist teams must commit to work with mentors (through Skype) to refine their presentation leading up to the Challenge.

Final Round Pitch Presentation Guidelines:

  • Distributing material, samples and/or prototypes is permitted and encouraged.
  • PowerPoint slides (up to 4 slides) or audio/ video assistance is allowed.
  • Each presenter will be given a few minutes to answer questions from the judges.
  • The presentation pitch may not exceed 3 minutes.

The VE Venture Challenge will enable you to turn your real business idea into reality!

Venture Challenge Timeline

  • January 5, 2018: Submit Round 1 application by 5:00 PM.
  • January 19, 2018: Ten (10) semi-finalist teams will be selected to advance to Round 2.
  • February 8, 2018: Semi-finalists submit Round 2 application by 5:00 PM.
  • February 15, 2018: Three (3) finalist teams will be selected to advance to the Final Round.
  • February – April 2018: Teams will practice their pitch presentations with VEI staff and industry professionals.
  • April 18, 2018: Three (3) finalist teams will give their pitch presentations at the Gala.

Awards & Prizes

Finalist teams will be eligible to win prize money (to advance their concept), scholarships, and a one-year membership in a co-working and/or incubator space. Transportation and lodging costs to New York City will be provided to finalist teams not taking part in the YBS.

Judging Criteria

Judges for each round will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from investors. The businesses will be judged on the following criteria: viability, scalability (growth potential), team, innovation, and pitching skills. Businesses will be ranked based on which company the judges would most likely invest in.

Before submitting an idea, be sure to research whether or not your product and/or service already exists. However, you may submit an idea that improves upon an existing product and/or service.

Research Tips:

  1. Conduct a Google search to see if your idea exists.
  2. Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database to see if your product idea has been submitted for a patent.

2017 VE Venture Challenge Winner

Miguel McKelvey, Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer, WeWork, presenting check to Liza T.

Presenter: Liza Tarakanova
Parkway West HS, Ballwin, MO

Liza T. from Parkway West High School in Missouri won the inaugural VE Venture Challenge, securing $10,000 in seed funding as well as a 1-year membership at WeWork Labs as she works to launch TredBed, a business venture that will help revolutionize the medical industry.

Titan Entrepreneurs of the 2017 VE Venture Panel

Gregg FisherFounder & Head of Quantitative Research & Portfolio Strategy, Gerstein Fisher
Miguel McKelveyCo-Founder, Chief Creative Officer, WeWork
Jeffrey TaylorCo-Founder & Managing Partner, Digital Risk
Alexandra Wilkis WilsonCo-Founder, Fitz, Glamsquad, & Gilt