Several Major Changes Coming to New Venture Competition

Applications for the one of the nation’s top student entrepreneurship contests close on Jan. 29.

January 24, 2023

Student speaks at New Venture competition 2022

Linda Mangera, M.D. '22, won the Social Venture Track at last year's New Venture Competition. (William Atkins/GW Today)

The George Washington University’s New Venture Competition (NVC) will see several major changes in 2023 to reflect its new leadership and mission to make the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship more accessible and relevant to more students.

Now in its 14th year, the NVC has grown into a nationally recognized student entrepreneurship event that provides GW students, faculty and alumni the opportunity to bring an idea to the table, work with mentors to craft and pitch that idea and vie for cash and non-cash prizes equaling close to $500,000. Applications for this year’s New Venture Competition close on Sunday.

The changes include new branding, track changes, round changes and more specialty prizes.

“For 13 years, the NVC has served as a unique opportunity for GW to engage thousands of students and alumni as competitors, judges, coaches and sponsors,” said GW Director of Student Entrepreneurship Kate Heath, M.B.A. '10. “Our intention with these updates is to continue to grow the program and reach even more students, as well as to bring renewed focus to the learning outcomes. NVC isn’t just about starting companies or non-profits; it’s about developing skills like storytelling, opportunity evaluation and customer discovery that will be needed in any future career or organization.”

Although the NVC is a recognizable brand on the GW campus, it will see a new life in 2023 that aims to appeal to a wider range of participants, some of whom may have been intimidated in the past. The first step was unveiling a new, more inclusive logo, which can already be seen on signage throughout the Foggy Bottom campus.

In 2023, the competition will also bid farewell to the New Venture track while welcoming new tracks. The expanded tracks will create a more even playing field for all competitors, as well as create opportunities for individuals who are just dipping their toes into entrepreneurship. New tracks include:

  • Explorer Track, which will appeal to those students who have yet to gain experience with innovation and entrepreneurship programs but are curious to learn. Shaya, B.S. ’03, and Mandy Reiter are sponsors of this new track. Shaya is the owner of CEO of International Inspirations, a New York City-based costume jewelry and fashion accessory company, a venture he started after graduating with a criminal justice degree.
  • Consumer Goods and Services Track, encompassing everyday items that can be used by the typical consumer such as food, beverage, apparel, toys or jewelry. This is the best track if the intended customer of the product is an individual.
  • Business Goods and Services Track, which is dedicated to selling products or services directly to other businesses such as large enterprises, the government or other startup companies. This is the best track if the intended customer of the product is a business.
  • Social Innovation Track, including solutions focused on improving and sustaining the welfare and well-being of individuals or communities that can be for-profit, nonprofit or hybrid.
  • Healthcare and Life Sciences Track, which will be dedicated to solutions that improve an individual’s care and outcomes, while also reducing healthcare costs and spending. This track would include ventures in the mental health, nutrition or biomedical industry.

There will also be three rounds instead of four to simplify the application process, reduce redundancy and allow for more programming between rounds, which will all be cumulative and serve as an on-ramp for the final pitch. There will be 12 finalists that include three from each track excluding the Explorer Track, which will advance 10 teams to Round 3. That final round will take place on April 13 at the Jack Morton Auditorium.

There will also be a selection of specialty prizes that will reflect the skills and values of the NVC program versus specific products and services (unless otherwise requested by a donor to support). Students will not self-select for these as OIE staff, Round 3 judges and donors will choose the winners.

Some prizes include but are not limited to: Best Customer Discovery, Best Financial Understanding, Best Market Assessment, Best Prototyping, Best Storytelling, CirrusLabs Prize for Best Tech Venture, Equity & Inclusion Prize, GW Collaboration Award, MBSA Prize, Quinn Prize for Social/International Venture, Spirit of NVC Award and Sustainability Prize.