SXSW EDU celebrates and honors trailblazers who are leading innovative and creative work through a series of competitions and awards.

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Student Startup Competition - SXSW EDU 2023 - Photo by Holly Jee

Vista Ridge HS Teacher quote

“Last year's experience was a life-changing one for my students. They thoroughly enjoyed both the student and the Launch competitions”

Dana Jones

2021 Launch Competition Finalist – Leslie Begert

For me, the most unexpected benefit was meeting the finalists, and while we were waiting, we formed a solid bond that has lasted the test of time because we were all in this very similar boat. It has actually had real material impact on our journey… You don’t get this sort of camaraderie from other pitch competitions.

Leslie Begert
President & Co-Founder / FabuLingua

2022 Student Startup Competition Emcee – Sarah Hernholm

Something that i'm really excited about that I've seen at the conference this year is how much the youth voice is being amplified. I want young people around, and I want them in spaces that are usually reserved for adults. And the thing that I love about EDU is that they do that.

Sarah Hernholm
2022 Student Startup Competition Emcee / WIT - Whatever It Takes

2018 Launch Winner – Aarushi Machavarapu

Winning the Student Startup Competition in March 2018 lifted me up and empowered me to continue working and dreaming big.

Aarushi Machavarapu
2018 Student Startup Competition Winner / Threading Twine

2017 Media – The

Few arenas spotlight, critique, or celebrate the newest edtech efforts quite like the South by Southwest Education Conference & Festival. At the center of it all: the live, rapid-fire Launch Competition, which gives new edtech innovators a stage, and platform, to make their best pitch.




SXSW EDU hosts competitions that serve as a vehicle to elevate and honor the impactful work of trailblazers and innovators. These competitions showcase fresh ideas and solutions, and ultimately connect the broader community to those ideas for impact.

Competitions feature a lineup of finalists selected through an application process to participate in a fast-paced pitch event, and include emcees, judges, and coaches that are hand-picked for their experience and expertise. Participants have access to additional opportunities to develop and share their ideas with the SXSW EDU community. Historically, these events have celebrated early-stage startups, the design of physical learning environments, and student entrepreneurs.

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The Launch Startup Competition, presented by the Walton Family Foundation, is an opportunity for early-stage education startups seeking market exposure, investment, and strategic partnerships to showcase their innovative products and services. Selected companies will pitch their startups in front of a panel of industry experts, early adopters, investors, and educators, as well as a live audience at SXSW EDU 2024. In addition to the fast-paced, live pitch event, finalists and semifinalists have access to additional opportunities to showcase their products and services and network with the SXSW EDU community.

Past winners of the SXSW EDU Launch Startup Competition have gone on to achieve remarkable success, securing funding, partnerships, and widespread recognition in the education industry.

Dive into the lineup of selected finalists, as well as this year's judges, emcees, and coaches set to participate in the Launch Startup Competition on Tuesday, March 5 on the Next Stage in the SXSW EDU Expo. Following the live competition, join us for an evening reception and winner announcement at the Launch Spotlight.

Explore 2024 Launch Finalists



The Student Impact Challenge celebrates student achievement and agency in solving the most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges by providing a platform for high school students to showcase their innovative ideas. The challenge invites students to submit their idea for a current project that is making an impact in their community. The challenge provides students with a remarkable opportunity to share their talents, validate and refine their ideas, and gain experience. Selected finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their idea in front of a panel of judges, as well as a live audience at SXSW EDU 2024. This year’s competition is presented by The Allstate Foundation, which empowers youth to serve their communities and create positive change.

Dive into the lineup of selected finalists, as well as this year's judges, emcees, and coaches set to participate in the Student Impact Challenge on Wednesday, March 6 on the Next Stage in the SXSW EDU Expo. Following the live competition, join us for ice cream and the winner announcement at the Student Impact Ice Cream Social.

Explore 2024 Student Impact Challenge Finalists


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