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Global Challenge Virtual Preliminary 2016


The Global Challenge Virtual Preliminary encourages students to develop their entrepreneurial ideas and showcase their creativity, as well as enhance their understanding of the requirements for a successful business venture. University teams will test their business concept by confirming that their idea meets a customer need, occupies a differentiated position in the marketplace, and has a viable business model and value proposition. The winner will advance to a week-long celebration of entrepreneurship at the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge in the USA and compete on a global stage for the $25,000 grand prize. Institutions can use this one-page flyer to advertise the Global Challenge Virtual Preliminary to their students.  The 2015 Virtual Preliminary winner was also awarded the $25,000 grand prize at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge finals in August 2015




Business Concept Overview:

A business concept is an attractive and well-researched market opportunity for which the team has devised a powerful and innovative response, including a viable financial business model.  The prize is focused on supporting educational entrepreneurship at an early stage of development.  Therefore, applicants are encouraged and expected to have a working prototype, but they must not have received cash investments from private investors, government agency funding beyond research grants, nor offered product(s) for sale except in market survey mode at the time the application form is submitted:  April 1, 2016.  The judges consider the viability of the market opportunity, the strength of the team’s response, the strength and balance of the team, the overall predictability of a success, and the professionalism of the presentation.   Proposed products/services that support a sustainable environment or specifically address needs of underdeveloped countries are encouraged, but no special credit will be assigned to such business concepts. 


  • The Virtual Preliminary is open to institutions who have never participated in a former VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge. Review the lists of university partners from 2010-2015 to ensure your university hasn't previously competed in a VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge in August.
  • All participants must be full-time university students from a non-U.S. institution and cannot be from an existing VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partner institution.  Very recent graduates are also eligible, who received their degrees within the twelve months immediately prior to the annual August Global Partnership Week.
  • Participants may elect to work in teams of up to five members.
  • Applicants must not have received cash investments from private investors, government agency funding beyond research grants, nor offered product(s) for sale except in market survey mode as of April 1, 2016, which is the application deadline.
  • Presentations must be made in English for the Virtual Preliminary. Presentations will also be made in English before a live audience, if you win the preliminary event, and advance to the Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge in the USA, August 11-20, 2016.


The winner of the Virtual Preliminary will be reimbursed up to $5,000 in travel expenses for coach airplane tickets to the Washington Dulles International Airport, located in Dulles, Virginia, as the event begins with a two-day trip in Washington D.C., August 11-13, to enjoy sightseeing trips to museums and monuments, and participate in private tours.   The winning team will enjoy the rest of the event week in Roanoke and Blacksburg, Virginia, August 13-20,  for a week-long celebration of entrepreneurship, as they compete in the Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge. The Virtual Preliminary winner will be registered for this entire event, August 11-20, 2016, where student teams from around the world will present their business ideas for a $25,000 grand prize, and enjoy interactive time with successful technology companies and local host families.


Guidelines and Deadlines:

1. March 4, 2016: Institutions will submit an "intent to support" online registration by midnight EDT of March 4, committing that at least one student team from their university will participate in the Global Challenge Virtual Preliminary. Registration is free and institutions can use this one-page flyer to advertise the Global Challenge Virtual Preliminary to their students.  After your submission is received, institutions will receive an electronic participation package of helpful resources, so teams can maximize their chances of winning.

2. April 1, 2016: Student teams will submit a one-page summary of the business concept by following the one-page submission guidelines by midnight EDT of April 1, 2016. These will be reviewed by a panel of entrepreneurial business leaders who will choose up to six finalist teams to compete in a virtual, preliminary screening.  The finalist teams will be determined by April 15, 2016 after they submit their one-page summary submission. 

One-Page Summary Guidelines ~ Review before submission.

3. May 13, 2016: Up to six finalists will submit a 10 minute video presentation via YouTube by May 13. The YouTube link, as well as supplement tables, graphs or charts that are displayed and covered in your video presentation must be submitted via email to christine.spalding@vtknowledgeworks.com by midnight EDT of May 13, 2016.

Presentation guidelines ~ Review in preparation for your video presentation. We ask that you cover the requested information in your YouTube video presentation but feel free to do so in the appropriate order for your team.


4. May 31, 2016: A panel of entrepreneurial business leaders will meet to judge the video presentations and engage in a “live” question and answer session with the finalist teams via online video conferencing on May 31, 2016. Finalists of the virtual preliminary event should be prepared to answer questions via a "live" online video session regarding their business concept and video presentation previously submitted.  A meeting time will be scheduled, along with additional login instructions sent to each finalist team via email.