About Us

Established in 2005, the Carolina Challenge has become one of the most dynamic and exciting hallmarks of the UNC entrepreneurship ecosystem. As UNC’s flagship venture competition, the Carolina Challenge gives students the chance to win seed funding for their early-stage idea. Approximately $50K in total prize money is distributed amongst the most promising ventures each year in both profit and non-profit/social tracks. Perhaps most alluring about the Carolina Challenge, however, is that it welcomes such a diverse population of aspiring entrepreneurs from throughout the University community. For example, this year’s Carolina Challenge winners boasted student founders from Biomedical engineering, Economics, Music, Computer Science, Health Policy, Journalism, as well as the business school. The Carolina Challenge is much more than a business plan competition. A series of networking events, coaching sessions and practice workshops held throughout the academic year provide aspiring entrepreneurs with hands-on experience in communicating and accelerating their venture ideas. In addition, venture pitch events such as IdeaHatch and Pitch Party are catalysts for dynamic interactions between students and seasoned entrepreneurs eager to offer their mentorship. Each year, nearly 200 entrepreneurs, industry experts and alumni generously donate their time and energies to the Challenge program. This past 14/15 academic year, the Challenge set record participants with over 100 entrepreneurial teams (325+ students) at the kick-off the Pitch Party and 55 teams (150+ students) at the competition. Five team awards totaling $5500 were given at the Pitch Party and 21 team awards totally $45,000 were awarded at the Carolina Challenge competition.