Facebook Skip to main content

Entrepreneurship Competitions

College students from across the Cascade Corridor (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia) and Alaska are invited to apply for student innovation and new venture competitions hosted by UW Foster School of Business’ Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. Competitions take place annually in March, April and May and offer opportunities for technology development and innovation in healthcare and cleantech (through the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge and Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge) as well as any other innovative idea (through the Dempsey Startup Competition). Students are invited to apply for one or all three. Additionally, the Buerk Center provides support to University of Washington MBA students entering the global Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC).

The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC) builds on the strengths of the University of Washington to provide a platform for interdisciplinary student teams to work on new solutions to existing health/healthcare problems, new approaches to helping people live healthier lives, new opportunities for care and treatment, and new product or services to bring to market.

The Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC) mobilizes students to apply their knowledge and ingenuity to solve environmental problems. Since 2009 the Buerk Center has awarded $416K in prototype funding and prize money to teams whose innovations address alternative energy production, clean water, fuel efficiency, etc. This annual challenge is open to students from colleges and universities across the Pacific Northwest.

The Dempsey Startup Competition (Dempsey Startup) is a platform for student-led ventures. The competition provides student teams with mentoring from entrepreneurs and investors, the opportunity to tell their stories to the Seattle startup community, and the visibility they need to get going. More than 5,485 students have participated in this annual new venture competition since its inception in 1998, and the Buerk Center has awarded 178 teams with over $1.61 million in seed funding.

The global Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is the world’s largest venture capital competition among top MBA students from 70+ prestigious business schools from 13 countries on 3 continents. At the core of the event is a creative turn of the tables. Unlike business plan competitions in which students pitch their own ideas to investors, at VCIC the students are the investors, and real entrepreneurs pitch to them.

Team Formation

If you’re a student seeking members for your HIC, EIC, or Dempsey Startup Competition team, or an individual hoping to join a team, check out StartupTree, our online platform designed to connect you with other entrepreneurs in the UW ecosystem. Create your profile, add your project or venture and start connecting to find your teammates!

You can also attend the weekly Team Tuesday lunch meetups to connect with other students. Share your ideas, share your skills, and learn more about bringing them together as a team for one of the Buerk Center Competitions. Visit StartupTree for event details and registration.

Attend an event

Read the Buerk Center blog

Connect with the Buerk Center