Duke Starts Process for Start-Up Challenge


Deadline: October 30, 2016

The Duke Start-Up Challenge, founded in 1999, is designed to help Duke’s entrepreneurship community flourish, with a year long entrepreneurship competition followed by an accelerator program. The goal of this challenge is to encourage startups among the members of the Duke University community.

Teams compete in 3 rounds over the course of 11 months. By October 30th, submit an idea summary that describes your startup. Over 500 alumni judges select the top 50% of teams to proceed to Round 2. The Duke Startup Challenge offers mentoring throughout the process as well and the ability to connect with over 5,000 members of Duke’s entrepreneurship global network.

Cash Prizes

  • Grand Prize winner – $50,000
  • Open Challenge Prizes – $10,000
  • Track Prizes
    • AARP Foundation Prize – $5,000
    • Duke Energy Initiative Prize – $10,000 (based on separate selection criteria)
    • Duke BME Prize – $10,000 (must be a startup with a student team leader from Duke BME)
  • In the case that the Grand Prize winner wins a Track level prize as well, then that team will receive both the  Grand Prize and the runner-up in the Track will receive the Track level prize.

There are two challenges that run in parallel:

  • Student Challenge (winners selected, cash prizes)
  • Open Challenge: for Alumni / Faculty / Staff and Students with non-student ideas (winners selected, separate pool of cash prizes)

For students to be eligible for the prize money, they must be able to work full-time on their startup throughout the summer. They are not required to work from Durham, but we encourage teams to take full advantage of the Bull Pen.