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Early Deadline

Early Deadline: 11:59pm ET, Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
  • No penalty! You can re-submit an updated application for the Final Deadline on Jan 31st

Do you have an idea for a startup company? Tell us your business idea, and earn a chance to win $5,000 in the Fall! Along the way you'll receive feedback and support to help get your business idea off the ground.

How does the competition work? 
You submit an 
  • Idea Summary 
  • A video Elevator Pitch

We provide you with 
  • Feedback from our pool of 300 judges
  • Mentor matching (see our pool of mentors)
  • A chance to win $5,000
  • A chance to earn a bye into Round 2 of the $50,000 Spring competition

Startups get grouped into tracks that help facilitate the judging process.
  • Tracks
    • Functional Tracks
      • Clean Energy 
        • Eligible to be the Duke representative in the $100,000 ACC Clean Energy competition*
      • Healthcare and Life Sciences 
      • IT, Internet and Media
      • Social Enterprises 
      • Other Products & Services  
    • Special Interest Tracks
      • Women-led Startup 
      • Undergraduate-led Startup 
Who is eligible?
  • Student Competition: All Duke students (as well as postdocs and medical residents) are eligible for the $5,000 in prize money in the Fall. 
  • Alumni, Faculty, Staff Competition: Alumni, Faculty, and Staff have a separate competition.  Eligible for $5,000 in prize money in the Fall, a separate pool of money from the student prizes.
For more information please read our rules page.
How do I compete?
Get started by submitting an Idea Summary (one to ten page document) of your business idea.  

  • By October 23rd
  • Complete your application on our iStart competition page
    • You must submit:
      • An Idea Summary
        • Here is our Idea Summary template.  You are required to use this template.
        • This is the minimum deliverable to receive feedback.
    • To be eligible for the $5,000 in Fall prizes you will need to submit:
      • An Elevator Pitch Video (1-5 minutes in length)
        • Post it on YouTube and link to it in your application.  Must be publicly viewable.
      • There will be two $5,000 prize pools, one for students, one for alumni/staff/faculty teams

Questions? Email us:
  • Navid Samadani-McQuirk (Fuqua'13), Co-President at navid.s.m@fuqua.duke.edu
  • Kaitlin Gaiss (Trinity '13), Co-President at kgaiss@gmail.com
    • Howie Rhee '04, Advisor at hwr2@duke.edu

    What happens after I submit my Idea Summary and Elevator Pitch Video?

    The Early Deadline in the Fall is focused on providing all contestants with feedback and mentorship, with opportunities to win prize money and receive a bye into Round 2 of the competition. The feedback process happens during November, and we will communicate regularly by email to keep you informed of the process.

    Additional Links
    Subpages (1): Competitors