Entrepreneur Events Spotlight: The Diamond Challenge

Diamond Challenge

The Diamond Challenge provides passionate and creative students from across the USA and world a place to come together to pitch, play, and learn about entrepreneurship.

Diamond Challenge

Manager, Julie Frieswyk

Name: The Diamond Challenge

Website: diamondchallenge.org

Event: Youth Entrepreneurship Competition

Interviewed: Julie Frieswyk, Manager, Youth Programs

This article is part of our Entrepreneur Events Spotlight featuring entrepreneurial events from around the world. We hope these interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.

In four sentences or less, tell us about your event and its objectives.

The Diamond Challenge is a venture concept competition for high school students. The Diamond Challenge offers students the opportunities to conceive of a new idea for a business or social venture, submit a concept paper and pitch their idea to a panel of judges.

Why is your event unique? Please describe the benefits.

The Diamond Challenge offers an award pool of $100,000 each season. Winning teams can use these awards to fund their ventures or towards higher education. The Diamond Challenge culminates in our Youth Entrepreneurship Summit where students from across the USA and world come together to pitch, play, and learn.

What struggles has the event faced and how has your event evolved?

As most of the world is waking up to the fact that youth need to be able to think like an entrepreneur, programs that provide meaningful opportunities to learn these skills are becoming more in demand. Since the Diamond Challenge is free for educators and students, we’ve seen significant growth in participation each year and have had to quickly evolve our model to accommodate new partners, participants and volunteers.

What resources do you find useful?

We rely heavily upon both technology and human resources to run our competition effectively. Our program uses competition management, customer relationship management, and marketing software. We also work with volunteers in the roles of judges, speakers and mentors.

What do you find most appealing about working with students who are interested in your event?

We love our students for a number of reasons. They are passionate, creative, and looking to make a positive impact on the world. We love connecting our students with one another and mentors, and then witnessing those relationships grow. Every endeavor takes a village, and to see our participants work together is so gratifying!

Tell us about your success stories;

  • How has your event benefitted the attendees?

The Diamond Challenge is more than just a competition, it’s about the stories and relationships that continue to last. They have gathered a growing collection of anecdotes from previous ambassadors and participants about how the Diamond Challenge impacted them.

“The Diamond Challenge provides a framework to multiply yourself this way effectively, while you solve everyday problems in your neighborhood, the country you live in or even the world community at large.” -Nicole Birkner

“I competed and won the Diamond Challenge in 2015. The experience exposed me to entrepreneurship in the most real way, in a way that didn’t just show me, but allowed me to do; I got the chance to develop a business plan, pitch for investment, network with entrepreneurs from across the world.”– Shreyas Parab

“So often we are told that we teenagers are the future… but why can’t we be the present as well? Diamond Challenge provides that platform for us teenagers to actually make a difference… right now.”-Michael Chen

  • Which are the most interesting event winners? In your opinion, have they been successful?

From our standpoint, all of our participants are successful. Being able to stand up in front of a panel of adult judges while in high school and present your own unique take on a value-adding venture is HUGE. I can’t imagine my high school self doing that!

Five Steps to Prepare Your Startup Pitch

What are the three most important factors people interested in attending your event should consider?

They should be:

  1. Open and interested in meeting new people from around the globe, expanding their network in a meaningful way.
  2. Interested in making the world a better place.
  3. Excited about creating new (fill in the blank-process, business, ventures, policies etc.) that add value to people’s lives.

If someone is interested in your event, what should they do?

This year those interested in participating in the Diamond Challenge can register and submit anytime between September 1, 2017-January 5, 2018. Entrepreneurship is a team sport and so is the Diamond Challenge. It’s open to high school students from anywhere in the world. They should have a team of 2-4 students and an adult advisor. They will submit a written concept and pitch deck and select whether they want to pitch at a live event or virtually by submitting a pitch video.

Students who don’t want to participate or who don’t qualify for the semifinal round are still invited and encouraged to apply to attend our April 11-13 Youth Entrepreneurship Summit. Preference will go to Diamond Challenge participants but others are welcome too! Applications for the event will open sometime in October 2017.

Are you familiar with other events you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below! 


Dave Clark