The Texas High School Ideas Challenge, hosted by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, is designed to encourage high school students to explore entrepreneurship and foster development of an entrepreneurial mindset. The Challenge is modeled after the Raymond Ideas Challenge, which is one of the McFerrin Center’s longest standing programs open each fall to current Texas A&M University students.
The submission of a winning idea will require students to prepare a compelling application that demonstrates creative, careful, and methodical planning but it will not require a fully developed business plan. Ultimately, the Texas High School Ideas Challenge will help students develop an ability to think in an entrepreneurial way and develop the competencies needed to identify and successfully implement new business ideas throughout their lifetime.
All Texas high school students aged 14-18 may participate in the Texas High School Ideas Challenge. Students may submit ideas individually or as a team. After the application deadline, all entries will be reviewed in a Pre-Screen Round and scored by a hand-selected group of judges. Finalists will be selected from this Round and invited to pitch their ideas at the Final Pitch Event on the campus of Texas A&M University. Winners will be announced and awarded prizes during an Awards Reception that same evening. Each finalist will also receive a certificate as confirmation of their participation.
There is no restriction on the number of individuals or teams per school or community that can apply, compete or advance to the final round, however, a single person will be allowed to participate in no more than two ideas as a Finalist. Teams may not consist of more than five students, and there is no limit to the number of ideas a team can submit, but each idea will require its own application.
Do you know a high school student that has great ideas? Let us know and we’ll provide all the information!
*The Texas High School Ideas Challenge is in no way affiliated with the 2021 High School Entrepreneurship Camp or StartupGrind BCS.
Application Opens Online — Dec. 1
Application Deadline — March 15
Final Pitch Event, Showcase & Awards Reception — May 2, 2023
All Texas high school students may participate and students may submit ideas individually or as a team.
To enter the Texas High School Ideas Challenge, competitors must complete and submit an entry form through the designated online system. By submitting an idea, all competitors certify that all ideas submitted are their own original work and that they have read and accept all terms, conditions, and rules of the competition.
After the application deadline, all entries will be reviewed in a Pre-Screen Round and scored by a hand-selected group of judges. Finalists will be selected from this Round and invited to pitch their ideas at the Final Pitch Event. Winners will be announced and awarded prizes during an Awards Reception that same evening.
Eligible applicants should meet the following criteria:
- Any Texas resident who is in high school and between the ages of 14-18 can participate in the challenge.
- Applicants may choose to enter as an individual or as a team. Teams are allowed up to 5 members, should be student led and composed of members willing to work together on all aspects of the competition.
- Each individual/team may submit as many ideas as they wish; however, each idea will require a separate application, and a single person will be allowed to participate in no more than two ideas as a Finalist.
- The age limit is strictly enforced. Students younger than 14 may not participate. Students ages 14-18 who have graduated high school or are enrolled full-time in college courses are also unable to participate in this competition.
- Completion of product development or company formation are not a requirement to enter the challenge, but competitors are welcome and encouraged to take their idea to the next level.
NOTE: Rules and exceptions are at the discretion of the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. Submission content must be appropriate for the student, judge, sponsor, and volunteer audience. Inappropriate content will result in disqualification. Direct any questions about eligibility to the McFerrin Center at McFerrinCenter@tamu.edu.
After the Pre-Screen round of online review and scoring, the Finalists will be announced as the Texas High School Ideas Challenge Finalists. These teams will be provided additional information in order to prepare the following:
Each Finalist (whether individual or team) will have 5 minutes to present the idea to a group of judges followed by 5 minutes of questions from the judges. Teams will be cut off after 5 minutes of presentation time and at the end of 5 minutes for Q&A, regardless of the content covered.
Attendance is required to participate at the Final Pitch Event. We only require that one author present the idea, so all authors are not required to attend, although it is recommended.
In developing the idea, we encourage authors to anticipate judges’ questions. The presentation before the small groups of judges will be a low-pressure event. Be assured, the judges are there to help and provide feedback, not intimidate. No PowerPoint presentations will be used during the final presentation.
Based on the scoring provided by the judges at the Final Pitch Event, cash prizes will be awarded to individuals or teams with the top ideas. The three top-scoring teams will receive cash prizes, in addition to 4 Honorable Mention prizes, and 3 People’s Choice winners selected by the Awards Reception audience.
These cash prizes will be awarded to the individual participants listed for each winning team and will be divided between all entered competitors on the winning entries. They are non-equity, non-ownership cash awards and winners are encouraged to utilize these funds in a manner consistent with their entrepreneurial goals.
*Cash prize amounts vary from year to year based upon sponsors and will be announced during the application period.
Judges are hand-selected by the McFerrin Center from our network of mentors, successful entrepreneurs and Texas A&M University Faculty.
The judges are looking for competitors who have an outstanding idea and clearly indicate that their idea creates values. Judges are also looking for competitors with an idea that is able to defend itself against other ideas in the competition. Finally, each idea should demonstrate to the judges that it is viable in the marketplace with clear evidence that the idea is attractive to a customer. As a whole, an application should serve as a convincing argument as to why the idea is valuable, unique, viable, and needed.
Via an online reviewing process, judges from the academic and business community will evaluate written entries in each of the following areas to identify the Finalist ideas: Idea Uniqueness, Target Market, Competitive Advantage, Resources and Goals.
Presenters and Ideas will be judged in each of the following areas: Idea Uniqueness, Target Market, Competitive Advantage, Resources, Goals, Presentation Delivery, Presentation Content and Q&A.
The Texas High School Ideas Challenge would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors!
The Crowd Fund & Awards Reception Sponsor
Top Idea Prize Sponsors
Top Idea Winners
1st Place ($2,500): WorkBee | Centennial HS | Frisco
sponsored by Active Industrial Fire Protection
2nd Place ($2,000): FYDER, LLC | Alamo Heights HS | San Antonio
sponsored by CareerPhysician, LLC
3rd Place ($1,750): Com.Post | Round Rock HS | Round Rock
sponsored by Education Advanced
Honorable Mention ($750): Stoozies: The Heated Shoetree | Canyon HS | New Braunfels
sponsored by Critical Environments Group
Honorable Mention ($750): iPath American English | Centennial HS | Frisco
sponsored by Education Advanced
Honorable Mention ($750): sMile | Centennial HS | Frisco, TX
sponsored by Startup LLC
Honorable Mention ($750): Traverse Marketplace | Vista Ridge HS | Cedar Park
sponsored by Mays Family Foundation
The Crowd Fund Winners
1st Place ($1,500): M.T. Equipment Backpacking Table | Westlake HS | Austin
sponsored by Nexersys (XFit Inc.)
2nd Place ($1,250): FYDER, LLC | Alamo Heights HS | San Antonio
sponsored by Startup LLC
3rd Place ($1,000): Let’s Keep Talking | Elkins HS | Missouri City
sponsored by Mays Family Foundation
$750 Honorable Mention Prize: Farmer Adam – A&M Consolidated, College Station
$750 Honorable Mention Prize: CollegeHype – Clint ISD Early College Academy, Clint
$750 Honorable Mention Prize: Allowance – Vista Ride High School, Cedar Park
$750 Honorable Mention Prize: Student Power – The Village School, Houston
$1,000 Sixth Place Winner: SOle Cold – Boerne Champion High School, Boerne
$1,250 Fifth Place Winner: Environmate – Centennial High School, Frisco
$1,500 Fourth Place Winner: DropaBall – Boerne Champion High School, Boerne
$1,750 Third Place Winner: PRACTICE PALS – Klein Cain High School, Klein
$2,000 Second Place Winner: S.A.P.P.E. by MC – Frisco High School, Frisco
$2,500 First Place Winner: WalkThru – Vista Ridge High School, Cedar Park
The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship is excited to announce the finalists for the 2022 Texas High School Ideas Challenge! These finalist teams, made up of more than 100 individual students from across 17 Texas cities, will meet up on May 6 at Texas A&M University for the 2nd annual competition.
- 512View | Lake Travis High School
- AirLivery | Midlothian High School
- AutoCans | Vista Ridge High School
- Axios | Liberal Arts & Science Academy
- Bonsai Chef | Boerne Champion High School
- Capacipack | Vista Ridge High School
- Carseat Infant Detection System | Midlothian High School
- Chance Tickets | Centennial High School
- Clean Cleats | Jasper High School
- Clean Green | North Houston Early College High School
- Com.Post | Round Rock High School
- Compactables | Midlothian High School
- EZFits | Calallen High School
- FamilyPod | Lake Belton High School
- FlashFish | Vista Ridge High School
- Fli-Ball | Lake Travis High School
- FYDER, LLC | Alamo Heights High School
- Genetic-Fit | Lake Travis High School
- Gluten Free Emergency Rations Bar | Allen High School
- Gspeak | Elgin High School
- H.E.M.A. | Frisco High School
- House of Hope | Elgin High School
- Infinity | Elgin High School
- Investa Sport | Centennial High School
- iPath American English | Centennial High School
- J.S.I Wind Turbine EV | Heritage High School
- Let’s Keep Talking | Elkins High School
- LogSense | Lake Travis High School
- M.T. Equipment Backpacking Table | Westlake High School
- MoonBow Dessert Taco | College Station High School
- Paw Pantry | Vista Ridge High School
- PharmAssist | Westlake High School
- SmartWeights | Vista Ridge High School
- sMile | Centennial High School
- Stewup | Heritage High School
- Stoozies | Canyon High School
- Tesoro | Midlothian High School
- Trainee | Centennial High School
- Traverse Marketplace | Vista Ridge High School
- Tub-to-Toilet | Liberal Arts & Science Academy
- UDrive | Liberal Arts & Science Academy
- WorkBee | Centennial High School