Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition


YEPex Monthly Meet-Ups

The Third Monday of each month, 4:30 P.M. - 5:30 P.M. via Zoom

We are in our third year of this new pilot program called the Youth Entrepreneurship Program experience. This program is for 9-12 graders who have any interest in innovation and entrepreneurship. We will have a brief program followed by an engaging hands on activity. We will meet monthly, September-March. FREE for EVERYONE! More details to come!

September 21 : District C Questioning Tool Workshop, Watch recording HERE

October 19 : District C Observation Tool Workshop, Watch recording HERE 

November 16 : Social Entrepreneurship with Meghan Lewis and Samantha Cleary, Watch recording HERE

December 21 : Blue Economy with Troy Alphin & Jay Styron, Watch recording HERE

January 25 : UNCW Esports with Raymond Pastore! 

February 15 : Competition Information Session: Interested in competiting? Bring some of your questions! 

March 15: Turn Your Good Idea Into a Patent with IBM Master Inventor Martin Keen, Register HERE

Competition Overview

Registration for 2021 Competition is now open!

The sixth annual Chancellor’s High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition of 2021 is presented 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

Registration is NOW OPEN for YEPex Youth Summit 2021 on April 30 held virtually via Zoom.

Years Past

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 culminates with the Youth Summit in the spring at Kenan Auditorium with a keynote speaker, the Chancellor's competition, awards, and lunch on Kenan Lawn.  

2020 First place winners were Cactus Security, Topsail High School in the for-profit track and NCVSDE, Isaac Bear Early College in the social enterprise track.

This year's second annual YEPex Youth Summit where the finals of the competition took place was held online as a virtual summit viz Zoom. Thank you to everyone who made 2020's YEPex Youth Summit and Chancellor's High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition a huge success!


Congratulations to the 2020 Winners! 

Here's the video from 2020's summit!
Social Enterprise: 3rd place, Spark (Zealia from Hoggard High School); 2nd place Litter Detection Tech (David from Cape Fear Academy); 1st place NCVSDE (Ella from Isaac Bear Early College)
For Profit Enterprise: 3rd place, Urge Basketball Fitness (Elizabeth from Southwest Onslow High School); 2nd place, SafeTKam (Robert and Olivia from Wilmington Early College High School); 1st place, Cactus Security (Cate from Topsail High School