Startup Challenge

Sponsored by Kummer Student Programs and Career Opportunities and Employer Relations

Thank you to all the students and volunteers who participated in this year's challenge. Check back in Fall 2024 for the next competition dates.


Create a team of 2-5 and complete your registration by Oct. 1. Check the competition dates below for deadlines and required attendance.

Registration is closed.

About the Challenge

This is a great opportunity for students to learn more about what it takes to create a business model and perfect it into a compelling five-minute pitch. Teams that complete the learning modules will be eligible to advance to the finals where they will pitch their business model concept to a panel of judges for scholarship prize money.


The learning modules teams will complete are based on the 9 blocks business model and the curriculum was developed by Dr. Fang at Missouri S&T. 

The business model is the entrepreneur’s or manager’s logic of how a venture creates, delivers, and captures values. A business model must be simple, relevant, and intuitively understandable, and isn’t bounded by details and numbers. Different from a business plan which is a detail-based description and number-driven forecast based on the operation and activities of a business.

Scholarship Prize Money

  • $5,000 scholarship split among team members that win first place
  • $3,000 scholarship split among team members that win second place
  • $1,000 scholarship split among team members that win third place

2023 Winning Teams

First and second place winning teams of the 2023 Startup Challenge received consultation services from Dr. Karla Callahan and Dr. Darrell (Del) Mank, Missouri S&T graduates who have shared their insights and expertise as consultants to several successful startups. 

Dr. Callahan is executive in residence with Wanderer Capital, where her focus is venture financing. As founder and CEO of Vizyontech Imaging, she was the inventor and co-author of the patent issued in 2014 for the ultrasound imaging product developed to make medical imaging easier, more affordable and more available to underserved markets. She has held executive positions in large corporations and was founder and CEO of two startups. Dr. Callahan earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in engineering management from Missouri S&T. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Dr. Mank is an executive who has launched successful technology businesses and led significant growth on behalf of large corporations. As a consultant to technology startups, he integrates technology, research and development, financial, and general management expertise, with a current focus on software-as-a-service (SAAS). With experience in public and privately held companies, his expertise includes product development, design, marketing and sales, operations, and general business management. He has taught at Missouri S&T and Santa Clara University, where he’s won numerous teaching awards. Dr. Mank earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a Ph.D in engineering management from Missouri S&T.

First Place

$5,000 Scholarship Prize for the team of Jayce Billington, Lacy Chapman, and Jacob Ward

Glassiderm is a new topical treatment using the dissolution of bioactive glass to resolve cystic acne.  

second place team for the 2023 start up challenge

Second Place

$3,000 Scholarship Prize for the team of Josue Cavazos and Auston Obsuth

Andi ESM1, a newly optimized anaerobic digestion technology, provides renewable, affordable, and accessible energy.

third place team for the 2023 start up challenge

Third Place

$1,000 Scholarship Prize for the team of Ava Berutti, Devin Deating and Hayden St. John

Safe Plate is an alternative type of weight plate designed to make the gym experience more convenient and safe, preventing lifters from getting stuck under the bar while benching alone.

2022 Winning Teams

Winning teams of the 2022 Startup Challenge won a free one-year membership for each team member to TREX Downtown in addition to their scholarships.

1st Place

$5,000 for the team of Emily Pesselato and JP Baldwin

Their pitch:  
Pneumo-Sense, a new test to detect pneumonia quicker, easier, and more cost-effective 

2nd Place

$3,000 for the team of Aiden Armstrong, Madison Husereau, Abby Knoesel

Their pitch:  
Foliagraft, a new form of skin graft using stem cells to lower the rate of rejection and cutting out the need for donors.

Read how the team went on to win a $15,000 first place award for their project at the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge in Kansas City.

3rd Place

$1,000 for the team of Sophie Straatmann and Kayla Cashion

Their pitch:
Stroller Puller, an attachment to adaptive strollers to offer pull option and mobility adaptation quickly and easily at a lower cost.