Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition



The fourth annual Chancellor’s High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition of 2019 is being presented to you by the University of North Carolina Wilmington in partnership with Chancellor Sartarelli and UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This competition is 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.

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


Want to register to attend the 2019 YEPex Youth Summit on April 12, 2019 and watch the final pitches?  Register here.


Meet the judges:


Brett Martin is the founder of tekMountain and a serial entrepreneur. He builds and influences companies with a contagious passion and has an impressive track record of innovation at the highest level. As CEO of CastleBranch, Brett has taken his original three person startup and has grown it into a national identity leader, employing 450 people. 
Brett has coached some of the Nation’s top senior executives, holds relevant patents, launched charities receiving national recognition and has started and scaled dozens of successful companies. In 2010, Brett’s non-profit startup received White House recognition as one of the country’s most influential charities dedicated to serving our military families. He serves on several prominent boards and is the Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. 
Brett earned his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - and a BA from Concordia University in Montreal Canada. 


Justine J. Reel, PhD, LPC, CMPC, serves in the role of associate dean for Research and Innovation within the College of Health and Human Services at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. In her role, she has the opportunity to mentor and support innovation among faculty, staff, and students within the college. She also has a faculty appointment as a professor in Exercise Science. She is a licensed professional counselor and a certified sport psychology consultant. She received her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and completed her doctoral and two master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She helped stand up an eating disorder treatment facility in Salt Lake City and has run her own private practice. She currently oversees the CHHS Kickbox initiative to train faculty innovators in the innovation process. She also teaches the Innovation in Health and Human Services course to undergraduate and graduate students that involves a study abroad program to Sweden. She has developed 6 measures and one that will be licensed for a healthcare company in Finland.


Dr. Neumeyer is an Assistant Professor of Management in the Cameron School of Business. He teaches entrepreneurship as well as managing technology and innovation. He has received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University and was a participant of University of Florida’s postdoctoral bridge program. His research interests include entrepreneurial ecosystems, ventures, and teams.