The Best Entrepreneurship Competitions for K-12 Students

Posted April 17, 2018 by Kayla Prochnow

Do your students have a mind for business? A potentially awesome idea for a startup? Maybe they just want to learn how to take on marketing campaigns, go through a product design process, or bulk up their problem solving skills. While some students may be able to jump right into launching their own entrepreneurial venture, most will need a little guidance. That’s where academic competitions can help. The best competitions are designed to not only motivate students to want to learn, but they also provide the framework to help them build their skills in ways they just can't do in the traditional classroom.

Entrepreneurial competitions give K-12 students an opportunity to learn real-world business, marketing, product design, and communication skills to help them succeed as they explore the wild west of entrepreneurship. Competitions provide great opportunities for students learn the best practices in startup entrepreneurship and even provide opportunities to raise some funding for their ventures or scholarships for college.

There are many entrepreneurial competitions around the world each year. So how do you know which ones are right for your students? While the base focus is on entrepreneurship, the topics can vary from consumer products, to sustainability and innovative technology and everything in between. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the top entrepreneurial competitions for K-12 students. While most of these competitions are focused on the high school level, some have opportunities for younger or older students to get engaged as well.


Entrepreneurial Competitions

Explore our list below to learn more about the variety of competitions that will fit your students' interests and strengths. You can also browse through our expansive online competition database, which enables you to search and follow every type of competition like art, energy, and global affairs to name a few.


Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow

This competition is for high school students to develop their own creative, well-researched solutions for a more sustainable future.



Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition

As the largest student-run entrepreneurship competition, high schoolers are required to pitch original business plans to local entrepreneurs.



Conrad Challenge

Students create sustainable solutions for different sectors of the world, including Aerospace & Aviation, Cyber-Technology & Security, Energy & Environment, Health & Nutrition, and Smoke-Free World to create a better future. The competition is for middle and high school students.



Cooper Hewitt National High School Design Competition

Students create a solution to a unique scenario focusing on humanitarian issues such as improving access to healthy, fresh foods in disadvantaged communities. For high school students.




DECA Competitive Events

DECA holds a variety of competitive events, including the DECA Idea Challenge, FIDM Challenge, and Stukent Social Media Challenge for students to show their knowledge and abilities to create innovation solutions to challenges.


Diamond Challenge

Students from around the world learn about the principles of entrepreneurship while growing their own ideas and putting them into action. Open to high school students.


FCCLA Virtual Business Challenge

Students are tested on their financial literacy skills in a variety of categories. Only high school students who are affiliated with the FCCLA are eligible to participate.



Genius Olympiad: Business

Students create a social responsibility plan for a business to raise environmental awareness and forge a positive relationship with the surrounding communities. For all students grade 8-12.



National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

Students demonstrate their entrepreneurial strengths and command of the field as they present and defend their business ideas to judges. Students start at their school level, continue to compete at regionals, and then the top teams are brought to a national summit.



Paradigm Challenge

Individual students or groups work to create original ideas for reducing waste in their home, community, and the world. Students 4-18 may participate.




The SAGE USA and SAGE Global competitions train high school students on being sustainable entrepreneurs. Students propose sustustainable business plans and compete at their regional level to be invited to the SAGE Global event held at a different location each year. 


Technovation Challenge

Technovation encourages young girls to participate in developing and applying the necessary skills to solve real-world issues with technology. Female students who are ages 10-18 can participate.


The Green Idea

Held in Sweden, this is a competition where students of any age create ideas and startups that to more sustainable society.



World Series of Innovation

A business challenge for students to pitch their entrepreneurial solutions for real problems that follow the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For students 13-24.