When COVID-19 derailed its annual in-person pitch competitors for highschool college students final yr, the College of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship’s Diamond Challenge tailored to assist college students construct their dream companies just about.
Created in 2012, the Diamond Problem is a top-rated highschool entrepreneurship competitors providing $100,000 in prizes and sources to teenagers worldwide. It’s free to college students because the college, philanthropists and company sponsors cowl the prices. The Diamond Problem invitations highschool college students to create groups of two to 4 individuals, recruit an grownup advisor, and provide you with a enterprise or social-venture idea.
Sury Gupta, from Middletown, Delaware, participated within the Diamond Problem in 2015. Though he didn’t make it to the semifinals, he did get his first publicity to the world of entrepreneurship. His crew created a platform that will assist college students simply share notes. He realized create a marketing strategy, make a pitch deck and community with inspiring audio system like Hazel Jennings, a founding member of Instagram’s content material crew.
Gupta utilized his expertise to his present startup, 360VR Expertise, which makes use of 3D modeling, intensive constructing evaluation and machine studying to present first responders in-depth details about buildings throughout an emergency corresponding to a hearth or energetic shooter assault.
One of many largest issues first responders expertise just isn’t figuring out what’s inside buildings throughout an emergency. With the 360VR Expertise, first responders can view constructing fashions and significant data like water piping areas, sprinkler methods and flammable gasoline storage on an internet site earlier than they enter. The objective is to assist first responders make knowledgeable, speedy selections. Gupta’s crew is working with first responders throughout the USA to pilot the software program.
Gupta has continued his involvement in entrepreneur competitions, profitable greater than $150,000 for his enterprise. Not too long ago, his crew was inducted into the Capital Factory and MassChallenge accelerators in Austin, Texas. Gupta says the Diamond Problem “gave me a terrific basis for entrepreneurship —- from determining validate issues and craft an answer, to with the ability to pitch that resolution.”
The yearlong program begins accepting purposes in August, and individuals acquire entry to a toolkit that features pattern pitch decks from among the world’s largest manufacturers, corresponding to Airbnb, and examples of previous Problem winners. In addition they participate in peer-to-peer mentoring and join with a world community that features digital meetups. In February, groups pitch stay and just about to world panels of judges. In March, judges select semifinalists, and the expertise culminates in a weeklong summit in April, the place the highest 10% of groups compete for prizes.
Previous to COVID-19, the three-day summit was in particular person, and college students would journey from all over the world to attend. Now, the summit is a digital expertise that features breakout rooms, one-on-one conferences with neighborhood leaders, keynote audio system, semifinal crew pitches and an awards ceremony.
Prizes on the summit embody $250 for all semifinal groups, plus a first-place prize of $8,000, a second-place prize of $4,000 and a third-place prize of $2,000 for every of two competitors tracks, in enterprise and social innovation. This new digital strategy has allowed for a rise in attain and affect by eradicating the monetary and geographic obstacles of an in-person mannequin. Throughout Covid-19 final yr, this system had a 9% enhance in submissions and labored with 5,082 college students in 32 states and 55 international locations, which resulted within the creation of 765 new companies and social ventures.
Whereas profitable ventures emerge from the Diamond Problem, the first objective is experiential studying. “If Diamond Problem individuals come out of this program studying leverage their entrepreneurial mindsets to make the world a greater place,” says Rachel Strauss, program coordinator at Horn Entrepreneurship, “that is the last word win.”