Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition

Is there a problem you see at school, at home, or in your community that you want to try to solve?

All NYU undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply to the Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition, powered by Startup Tree.

Designed specifically for students with no prior experience, the Ideas Competition is an easy way to get your toes wet and see if entrepreneurship could be right for you. All you need to apply is an idea, no matter how small, or a prototype, no matter rough. The competition is completely virtual, run on the Startup Tree platform.

The first round of competition will take place on the NYU campus, and top students from each of four tracks will be selected to win $1,000 each. These four winners will join finalists from each school in the Blackstone LaunchPad network for a national-round of the competition, for the chance to win a $10,000 prize and in-kind support.

Finalist teams of each track in the Ideas Competition will be offered a spot in the NYU Startup Bootcamp, the first stepping stone in the NYU Startup Accelerator journey.

The application will open from September 27th to October 31st.

  • Tell me more
    The LaunchPad Ideas Competition is designed to provide students with early-stage business ideas with chance to win money to take it to the next step. It will also serve as a pipeline for bringing more students into your LaunchPad to get the support to further explore entrepreneurship and build entrepreneurial skills. This signature program supports LaunchPad’s goal in de-risking entrepreneurship, broadening accessibility, and diversifying engagement with a focus on recruiting underrepresented and under-resourced students to participate.
    The competition will be completely virtual, hosted on the StartupTree platform.

    Students may apply into one of 4 tracks:

    • Social and Climate Impact: sustainability, education, human rights, poverty alleviation, racial and social justice, etc.
    • Health & Life Sciences: biotech, health & medical science, healthcare
    • Consumer Products & Services
    • General
  • Eligibility
    The applicant must...
    • be a current student (undergraduate or graduate-level)
    • be a founder/co-founder (i.e., the person with the original idea)
    • be in the earliest stages - have an idea or have just started building on an idea
    • create a profile on Startup Tree and apply as an individual or in teams of 2
  • Prizes
    Campus Round
    Winner from each of 4 tracks will receive $1,000 and invitation to complete as finalist in network round; Campus Directors are encouraged to offer additional prizes (swag, gift cards, in-kind/coaching, etc.)
    Network Round
    Winner from each of 4 tracks will receive $10,000 and the following in-kind prizes:

    • Amazon Web Services: $5000 in credits + 1 year of business support
    • Future Founders: Startup advisory meetings
    • MasterClass: One MasterClass license ($180 value, new subscriptions only)
    • Cooley LLP: $5,000 in-kind service award for legal fees for company formation or a financing transaction
  • Competition Timeline
    Sept 27: Campus Round App Open
    Oct 31: Campus Round App Deadline
    Nov 19: Campus Winners announced and invited to finalist/Network Round
    Dec 1: Finalist/Network Round App Deadline (each finalist must submit 7-page deck)
    Dec 15: Grand Prize Winners Announced
  • Application Questions
    • What is your idea? Be specific on what exactly your venture/organization is going to make or do.How do you know this is what your customer needs and wants? Do you have any customers (paying or otherwise)?
    • How will you make money? Have you made any so far?
    • How big do you think this could get?
    • Why are you passionate about this idea/solution? Why are you the right person to take this idea to the next level (include any qualifications – academic, professional, or other)
    • Describe your leadership potential. Please include examples of your approach to leadership and experiences that demonstrate your leadership ability.
  • Note on Network Round Prizes
    The prize awards will be paid to the student entrepreneur(s) in recognition of their achievements in preparing for and participating in the pitch competition. There is no obligation to use the prize proceeds for any particular purpose. Where a student startup is represented by more than one student, the prize award will be divided evenly among the students.
    Prize awards may be subject to U.S. federal tax withholding; therefore BXCF can only pay prizes to students who are able to file a W-9 or W-8 form. If a student is unable to do so, they may request that their winnings are directed to a 501c(3) non-profit of their choice. However, BXCF retains ultimate discretion in approval of the non-profit.   Click here to apply.