Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition



The fourth annual Chancellor’s High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition of 2019 was presented by the University of North Carolina Wilmington in partnership with Chancellor Sartarelli and UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This competition was an amazing opportunity for High School thinkers, dreamers, and innovators to explore their inner entrepreneurial spirit. This is a high school “lean” business competition for Southeast North Carolina, covering 18 counties (Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Hoke, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Scotland, and Wayne), and 50 high schools.

This year's first place winners were Wonder Water in the for-profit track and Breathalyzer Car in the social enterprise track.

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Competition Tracks

  • For-Profit enterprise
  • Non-Profit or Social enterprise

Rounds of Competition

  • Preliminary Round: 3-5 minute “rocket pitch” video presentation plus a 3-5 page executive summary utilizing the lean business concept. Judges will pick five teams from each track to be invited for the final round.

  • Final Round: The three teams in each track invited will present their 5 minute “rocket pitch” in person at the 2019 YEPex Youth Summit in Kenan Auditorium. A panel of judges will then score and announce the finalists from each track. There will be three winners selected from each track.


  • Cash prizes for the top three place winners will be awarded in each track ($1,500 for 1st, $1,000 for 2nd, and $500 for 3rd). School faculty mentors whose team places first in each track will receive $250.

  • Winning teams will also receive a trophy, a one-year membership to the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and a copy of The Lean Entrepreneur by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits.

Please see How to Participate and Competition Criteria for more details


YEPex launched in 2019 as a year long experience consisting of monthly meetups for 9-12 graders to connect with local entrepreneurs and learn more about the entrepreneurial process and what it takes to startup a business.  The experience culminated with the Youth Summit on April 12, 2019 at Kenan Auditorium with a keynote speaker, the Chancellor's competition, awards, and lunch on Kenan Lawn.  We are looking forward to YEPex 2020.  Save the date for the Youth Summit on May 1, 2020.

Registration will open soon for the 2020 YEPex Youth Summit on May 1, 2019!