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Learn by Competing

St. Thomas students participate in many entrepreneurship competitions each year, to both sharpen and showcase their innovative talents. The Schulze School offers internal competition opportunities, and encourages students to compete outside our school, too. Our students take part in national business plan competitions, as well as:

  • Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange (EIX) E-Fest
  • MN Cup
  • Global Student Entrepreneur Awards
These competitions bring the opportunity to win scholarships, as well as funding to get your business idea off the ground.
Over $100,000 awarded annually in St. Thomas student competitions
Guests walk past a Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge sign during the e-Fest Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge April 14, 2018 in Schulze Hall auditorium.



At e-Fest, the nation’s largest undergraduates-only business plan competition, over $250,000 is awarded for the best undergraduate business ideas. Students from around the country submit to the competition. Twenty-five undergraduate student teams are selected from a pool of almost 200 teams to participate in the annual competition, with winning teams receiving awards of $75,000, $40,000, $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000 for the top five business ideas. E-Fest is sponsored by EIX.org, an online learning platform for entrepreneurs, students and professors and is hosted by the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.

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Three women wearing Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge t-shirts splash in the ocean.


Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge

A social venture learning experience for students, the Global Social Innovation Challenge has connected more than 2,500 students from 17 countries around the world — including Australia, South Korea, Rwanda, Ireland, Mexico and Peru — recognizing their outstanding social ventures based on positive impact and financial sustainability. Students can win up to $50,000 in seed funding for businesses at any stage. To date, more than $400,000 has been distributed to seed the most innovative and promising global ventures.

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Student Matt Michalski does some thinking after his presentation during the Fowler Business Concept Challenge November 20, 2015 in Schulze Hall.


The Fowler Business Concept Challenge

In this annual contest hosted by the Schulze School, St. Thomas undergraduate and graduate students pitch their best business ideas. Scholarships of up to $15,000 are awarded to the top finishers and best presenter in each track.

$676,500 awarded in Fowler Business Concept Challenge scholarships to date.

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Student Rose Whitney-Eliason, of Earth Worm, speaks during the Opus College of Business business plan competition February 10, 2017 in the Schulze Hall auditorium.


St. Thomas Business Plan Competition

With two divisions of competition, this event invites high school and St. Thomas undergraduate and graduate students to submit business plans to compete for cash prizes totaling $38,000.

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β€œThe best ideas often come from bringing together unusual combinations of disciplines.”

AnnMarie Thomas, Associate Professor in Engineering and Entrepreneurship