Raising Entrepreneurial Girls


Choose your girl’s best chance to put her startup in the spotlight.

Just in time for your budding girl entrepreneurs to get a chance to showcase their business ventures, it’s time for our semi-annual update of entrepreneurship pitch competitions. Read on for the latest updates and winner announcements from some of our favorite pitch competitions, along with their Fall and Winter offerings.

‘iDEAS by Youth’ Social Entrepreneurship Program

This complimentary 8-week program teaches high school students how to build a business, create a prototype, and present it to a panel of experts in a Shark Tank format for a chance to win a cash prize. The winner also lands an 8-week business mentorship deal that takes the startup idea to the next level. The program aims to empower young people to become social entrepreneurs and find local solutions to global issues, such as poverty, injustice, health crisis, and climate change. The program’s purpose is also to provide opportunities for youth in underserved communities. Virtual for now, the iDEAS by Youth Entrepreneurship Program begins on January 9, 2023 with a sign-up deadline of December 23 this year.



There’s still plenty of time for your girls to prepare for next year’s i.Invest pitch competition; applicants must apply between March 1 and May 1, 2023. i.Invest, a National Youth Business Competition, showcases the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation’s brightest young leaders. Participants have a chance to earn seed funding and win cash and in-kind prizes. They also meet investors and collaborate with mentors who can provide invaluable advice on building and sustaining a viable business model. Registration costs $39; young teen entrepreneurs, 16 and under, must secure guardian/parental consent, and all participants must submit a business concept profile with a pitch video. They also have to participate in a three-day virtual Bootcamp and attend the virtual Pitch Finale. To view the Concept Profile, Executive Summary, and Business Plan template, visit the i.Invest Knowledge Center.


NFTE: World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

The 2022 World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge by Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) happened in April. Students as young as 11 around the globe competed in this business plan competition. A series of competition rounds took place online. And if you and your girls are interested in finding out who won the $1,000 and $5,000 prizes, the final round is posted online. Logon to https://innovation.nfte.com for the latest on this year’s World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.


The Paradigm Challenge

The next Paradigm Challenge, a competition based in Los Angeles, is open, and the deadline for entries is on May 1, 2023. Students aged 4 to 18 worldwide can submit an idea, invention, mobile app, or any solution for real-life problems such as home fires, waste reduction, personal health, food security, and biodiversity. Participants with the top idea from each age division (4-8, 9-13, and 14-18) move to the next round and compete for The Paradigm Challenge Prize of $100,000. Registration is free.


Technovation Challenge

Technovation Challenge runs across 100+ countries for young female tech entrepreneurs ages 10 to 18. Participants have access to a 12 week curriculum and work with mentors to develop a mobile app and launch a startup that solves everyday problems with technology. Girls must complete all the necessary steps, from coding to writing a business plan. This year’s Technovation Challenge opened up a new Beginner Division, so girls as young as 8 could join the competition. Registration officially closed on April 26, 2022, and the Technovation World Pitch Summit took place in Silicon Valley last August. You can sign up on their website to be among the first to hear when registration opens for the January 2023 program. There is no cost to participate.


Venture Lab

Venture Lab’s pitch events take place online with several date options from August to December 2022. Applications for the next live virtual youth pitch event, December 1 (5-6PM CST), will open soon. Young entrepreneurs ages 6 to 18 are welcome to join. However, slots tend to fill quickly, so we encourage you to apply as soon as registration opens. This ensures your girls’ best chance of participating and maximizing their practice time. Those selected to pitch will be given enough time to practice and ask questions before the live virtual event. They also receive actionable feedback to help them tweak their respective business ideas and improve their pitches. Registration is free.


Venture Dash

Venture Dash is a platform for running entrepreneurship competitions and the site also curates and posts the latest schedule and entry rules of nationwide startup competitions, innovation challenges, and pitch battles for kids and teens. The locations vary, and some still offer online pitch competitions. Most are also free to join. It’s a handy website to bookmark if your girl is interested in joining more than one entrepreneurship pitch competition this Fall/Winter or any season and year.


Women Founders Network (WFN): Junior Judge Program

The Junior Judge program takes place during Summer and Fall each year. Join the Women Founders Network (WFN) mailing list to be notified once applications open for the 2023 session. Girls in grades 9-12 are welcome to apply. Participants meet with women CEOs and founders who share their startup lessons and attend business workshops to prepare for their seat at the judges’ table at the WFN Fast Pitch event in Los Angeles. Besides their roles as judges, girls become “venture capitalists for a day” and present the cash award to the winner of the annual WFN Fast Pitch.

Young Entrepreneur Institute

The National Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge aims to help kids and teens hone their creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and pitch presentation skills. Winning pitches from this year’s two age divisions, 5th to 8th and 9th to 12th Grades, are posted online. Visit their site to keep a lookout for the 2023 application period.



Young business owners (6 to 21 years old) from Colorado applied to this year’s Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition. All finalists received up to $500 in prize money. If you’re based in Colorado, and your girls would like to join the next round of YouthBiz Stars competition, complete their contact us form on yacenter.org for more information.


These entrepreneurship pitch competitions come with requirements and challenges, and that’s a good thing. The whole experience will empower your girl to be goal-oriented and think critically about every aspect of her startup. By joining any of these contests, your girl will gain exposure for her business and engage with prospective customers and investors. Your girl’s business idea could even positively impact the community to make a difference. And bringing home the trophy (and a check!) is a bonus!

Is your girl excited to prepare her pitch and wow the judges? We wish her the best!


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