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FAQ

Below, read through a few common questions and concerns.

JOIN THE $300K CHALLENGE

General

What is the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge? 

The $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge is two things:

(1) First and foremost, the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge is an accelerator, or a structured program that provides you with the support, resources and tools to move through the venture creation process quickly. We can't guarantee that you'll be ready to launch in 8 months, but we do our best to help every team get as far as possible. The more resources you take advantage of, the further along you'll get.

(2) Running alongside the accelerator program is a competition where teams can compete for cash prizes and pro bono services.

The general mindset we promote is, "Join the Challenge to get your venture up and running. And if you happen to win the cash, that's icing on the cake!"

 

What are the three competition tracks, and how are they different?

 

New Venture Competition : The New Venture Competition is the largest of the three tracks and accepts the broadest array of entries. Teams with virtually any business idea (minus consultancies, advisories, franchises, and real estate syndications) may enter.

Social Venture Competition : The Social Venture Competition is for ventures tackling social problems, domestic and abroad. Both for-profit and nonprofit ventures are welcome, but nonprofits MUST have an earned income revenue stream (e.g. have a revenue model that is not primarily dependent upon grants and donations only).

Technology Venture Competition: Sponsored by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, the Technology Venture Competition seeks to commercialize NYU inventions and new technologies in the information technology, life science, and energy sectors.

 

Who runs the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge?

The $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge is administered annually by the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs at NYU Stern. Located on the 4th floor of Tisch Hall, the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs provides a number of programs and services to support NYU community members with an interest in innovation, both from a startup and corporate perspective. The Labs provide startup acceleration programs, mentoring, workshops and technical assistance, all designed to provide NYU students, alumni, faculty and staff with the skills and resources needed to discover and execute bold new ideas.


Who can participate in the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge? 

All students, faculty, researchers, and alumni of New York University are welcome to compete. Prior business education or experience is not necessary. For a more complete discussion of Eligibility, visit the Eligibility page.


What kind of time commitment is required to participate?

The Challenge is an 8-month program. It kicks off in mid-September and ends with the Final Pitch-Off & Awards Ceremony in early May. There are various full-day bootcamps, shorter-format clinics and workshop, and coaching appointments available throughout the duration of the Challenge and centered around refining the various aspects of your venture concept. If you plan to take advantage of everything that is available, there will be something on your calendar almost every week. But ultimately, you will choose how much effort you are willing to spend on your venture.


Where can I find the full list of dates and activities related to the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge?

Visit the Timeline page for a full listing and to download a printable calendar. Don't forget that you must register for each and every event you wish to attend. Having an accurate headcount helps us to reserve enough space, order enough food, and have enough handouts and materials for everyone planning to attend.


How do I register for events? 

In addition to having the schedule of events, the Timeline page also includes links to register and sign up for all the available resources. We can't stress enough how important it is to sign up for each event individually. Make sure you receive a confirmation email and present either an electronic or paper ticket to the registration desk at the start of the event!


Where can I find the materials like video recordings and slide decks for boot camps and workshops?

We do not guarantee the availability of video recordings or slide decks. However, if we have those additional resources available for an event, we will share them on the Resources page of the portal.


What does each winner get?

New Venture Competition winners share the $100,000 Ira Rennert Prize. Social Venture Competition winners share a $75,000 prize. Technology Venture Competition Winners share a $100,000 prize from the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. All winning teams will also be connected to pro bono services valued at over $50,000.

Eligibility

Who can participate in the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge?

All students, faculty, researchers, and alumni of New York University are welcome to compete. Prior business education or experience is not necessary. For a more complete discussion of Eligibility, visit the Eligibility page. 

Can I enter the Challenge even if I am not affiliated with NYU?

Yes, non-NYU affiliates may join teams that include at least one qualified "NYU Representative." For the New Venture and Social Venture Competitions, the NYU Representative is a current NYU student, current NYU faculty member, current NYU researcher, or alumnus/a of the Stern School of Business who holds at least 15% equity in the venture and intends to play a material role in the development of the venture both during the Challenge and afterwards. For the Technology Venture Competition, alumni are not qualified to serve as the "NYU Representative" due to the nature of the technology requirements.

I am an NYU student/faculty member/researcher. Can I have non-NYU individuals on my team?

Yes. However, if you are the sole NYU representative on your team, you must have 15% or more equity stake in the venture. 

Can I enter the Challenge even if I am an NYU alumnus/a?

Alumni of the NYU Stern School of Business may enter the New Venture Competition and Social Venture Competition. Alumni from any of the other NYU schools can compete only by joining a team that has at least one current NYU student, current NYU faculty member, current NYU researcher, or a Stern alum. For the Technology Venture Competition, alumni of any NYU school (including Stern) may enter only as additional members of teams that have at least one current NYU student, current NYU faculty member, or current NYU researcher.

How can I view the complete eligibility requirements and competition rules?

You can view a complete list of on the Eligibility page.

I participated in the Challenge last year, but didn't win. Can I enter the competition again this year?

You can re-enter the same idea/concept into the competition if you did not compete in Round 3 (Semi-Finals) or Round 4 (Finals). Or, you can enter with a substantially different venture idea, as determined by the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs. 
 

Entering the Challenge

How do I enter?

To enter, visit https://wrberkleyinnovationlabs.smapply.io/prog/lst/ and submit your idea to the online portal.

What information about the venture do I need to submit? 

We'll ask you for your venture name, a brief description of the idea, and a logo. Your team will also need to complete a short Opportunity Research Plan, where you'll describe the status quo of your target industry, key assumptions that your idea is based on, and a plan for researching and testing whether your assumptions are accurate. Finally, all team members will be required to submit information about themselves.

Who is required to pay an entry fee?
Each individual team member receiving an equity stake in the company AND/OR participating in the boot camps, clinics and coaching offered through the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge is required to pay an entry fee, the amount of which is specified below.

Student Entry Fee: $50

Alumnus Entry Fee: $125

Faculty Entry Fee: $125

Researcher Entry Fee: $125

Non-NYU Entry Fee: $125


Can I enter multiple ideas?

Yes. You can enter more than 1 idea and/or be a member of more than 1 team. However, if two or more of your ideas/teams makes it to Round 3 (Semi-finals), you will permitted to continue with only 1 of those ideas/teams.


Do I need to have a team?

As long as you yourself meet the eligibility requirements, you are welcome to be a team of 1 person. However, it is strongly recommended that you find co-founders and/or teammates, as this helps tremendously with dividing up the work to be done and also having a diverse set of skills and perspectives. If you are in need of team members, be sure to attend the Teammate Hunt.

 

Competition

Can I still come to the boot camps and workshops if I don't win?

Yes! 100% yes! You can still take advantage of the boot camps and clinics, which aim to help you launch your business. Additionally, we offer other services and programs including the NYU Mobile App Contest, one-on-one startup advising, speaker events, and more. The W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs are committed to helping you launch your venture. 

How will I receive the prize money my team wins?
Prize monies are awarded by check to registered business entities only. If a winning team has not yet incorporated their venture by the end of the Challenge, it will be required to do so to receive the prize monies. An additional requirement of receiving the cash prizes is achievement of "milestones," which are mutually agreed upon by both the winning team and the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs.