The Oklahoma Young Entrepreneur Awards is an idea and innovation competition for high school students in Oklahoma. All students currently in grades 9-12 are eligible to compete. Teams shall be composed of no fewer than 1 student and 1 faculty advisor, and no more than 5 students and 2 faculty advisors. The role of faculty mentors is to guide and encourage; the majority of intellectual and physical project content must originate with students.

Prizes: 1st Place: $2000 - 2nd Place: $1500 - 3rd Place: $750

Several additional smaller prizes will be awarded. Prize money will be divided evenly among all registered student members (maximum 5 members) and delivered in the form of a personal check.

Competition Structure

First Round: Student team members will submit a written application with 4 separate essay responses, each essay response must be fewer than 600 words. In addition, student members will condense this information into a recorded 90-second "elevator pitch," upload it to YouTube, and submit the YouTube link along with their written application. Deadline for submission is February 9th February 23rd, 2018.

Applications will be scored based on how comprehensively the essay questions are addressed. Additionally, opportunities to earn bonus points by completing Entrepreneur Challenge Tasks will be given between October 2017 and February 2018. Application scores and bonus points will be added, and based on these scores the top 10 teams in the state of Oklahoma will be selected to advance to the Final Round of competition, which will take place on April 14th, 2018 at The University of Tulsa's Allen Chapman Student Union (building 3 on the TU Campus Map). Student teams advancing to the Final Round of competition will be notified on March 2nd March 16th, 2018.

Final Round: Student team members will build a prototype and/or create a visual display which communicates their idea or innovation. Additionally, Finalist Teams will create a "pecha kucha"-style PowerPoint presentation (20 slides X 20 seconds per slide, 6 minutes and 40 seconds in total).

Finalist Team student members, faculty advisors, and guests will travel on the day of the Final Round of competition to The University of Tulsa, where student team members will present their prototypes/displays and deliver their PowerPoint slide presentations to a panel of judges and spectators in person during the final round of competition. Each team will make this presentation directly to the panel of judges, after which the panel will engage the team in a brief question and answer round.

Campus tours, educational workshops, and engaging activities will be offered throughout the morning. Finally, all Finalist teams, faculty advisors, and team guests will attend the awards dinner for the keynote address and for the awards ceremony where a variety of awards, including the top 3 student teams, will be presented.

Guidelines for Submission

Team submissions should address the following points:

  1. Identify a validated NEED OR PROBLEM and include supporting data (market research, customer interviews, etc). Show the magnitude and scope of this need/problem, as well as its impact on individuals and families and the consequences of not solving or meeting it. Explain why the need/problem exists, i.e. who/what is causing the problem, who is affected by it, the history of the problem/how often it occurs, etc. Quantify and/or qualify the significance of the need involved.

  2. Demonstrate the VALUE PROPOSITION to be delivered by your innovative idea, product or organization and explain what sets it apart from other currently existing solutions to the problem or need. Include answers to the following questions: What is the product or service that is being offered? What are the benefits the market will derive from the product or service? What alternative options does the market have to the product or service? What evidence is there to substantiate your value proposition?

  3. What is your TARGET MARKET? Who are your customers? Are there potential partners who might be able to help you accomplish your goals? Who are your competitors? What challenges or barriers to success do you foresee in bringing your solution to market? What is your plan to address or overcome these challenges?

  4. Describe the COST STRUCTURE for your idea. Is it profitable and/or sustainable? What are the fixed costs and variable costs associated with your idea? Have you identified a revenue stream? Is your idea scalable, or can it only be implemented locally? Support your assertions with data.

Fine print regarding the April 14 event:

Every student in the finalist teams and all team advisors will be required to complete a photo release form which allows the organizers to use their image in promotional materials. Teams winning cash awards, and participating faculty of finalist teams will receive their funds after 4-6 weeks. The organizers reserve the right to cancel the April 14 event for any reason. If organizers cancel, the teams with valid entries will be notified directly, and a limited number of awards totalling less than $5000, will still be given to the best entries.