Competition showcases entrepreneurship, innovation

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago will hold the 12th annual Startup Challenge live pitch business plan competition April 10.

Rachel Harsley celebrating win

Rachel Harsley celebrates after winning the 2016 Startup Challenge. Photo credit: UIC Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Startup Challenge is a chance for UIC students, faculty, staff and alumni to showcase their entrepreneurial creativity by taking a business idea and turning it into a business. Teams present business plans to judges and compete before a live audience to win cash prizes up to $10,000.


April 10
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.


UIC Student Center East
750 S. Halsted St.


The top teams will be notified at the competition and will pitch their business plans to a panel of judges. The judges will then award first- and second-place prizes and a cash prize for each finalist. Judges will also award a cash prize for the Early Venture Track Recognition and Elevator Pitch/Fan Favorite winners.

Last year, 156 participants across 56 teams representing 12 UIC colleges advanced to the Startup Challenge semifinals.

The event is free and open to the public. More details are here.

Notes to assignment editors/reporters: Interviews upon request or immediately following the event


  • Current and former students are available to tell how the competition helped guide them on their career paths.
  • UIC alumnus Joseph Sheahan, co-founder and CEO of Savvo Digital Sommelier Solutions, voted among the top Chicago startups of 2013 by Red Rocket Ventures, can talk about how the competition helped him take the next step.
  • Videography and photographing of student teams in action during live pitches are welcome. Jeffron Boynés, on-site media contact, (773) 633-7971, will have summaries of each semifinalist team.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email