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

Photo by Tico Mendoza.

Photo by Tico Mendoza.

About Competitions


SXSW EDU hosts competitions that serve as a vehicle to elevate and honor the work of trailblazers in the space. These competitions are about showcasing fresh ideas and solutions, and ultimately connecting the broader community to those ideas for impact.

Competition hallmarks include a lineup of finalists selected through an application process, as well as emcees, judges, and coaches that are hand-picked for their experience and expertise. Historically, these events have celebrated early-stage startups, the design of physical learning environments, and student entrepreneurs.



The SXSW EDU Launch startup competition provides a platform for entrepreneurs seeking feedback, investment, strategic partnerships, and exposure, to present their early-stage company before a panel of industry experts, early adopters, investors, and educators as well as the live SXSW EDU audience.

How To Apply

Early-stage education startups are encouraged to complete the online application process to be considered as a finalist for the 2022 competition.

Tuesday, June 29 – Application Opens
Thursday, October 28 – Application Closes

Apply to Launch

Eligibility Requirements

  • The SXSW EDU Launch competition is open to early-stage startup companies in the education market.
  • Companies must be established with a management team and public-facing website, able to convey a sustainable business model and able to demonstrate user traction, engagement, and adoption metrics.
  • Companies who have raised over $5 million in funds from combined funding sources at the time of application are ineligible.
  • Each applicant is only eligible to present in one of the SXSW startup events (SXSW Pitch or SXSW EDU Launch). If you apply and are selected as a finalist for both, you will need to choose in which competition you’d like to present.

Student Startup Competition


The Student Startup Competition powered by WIT – Whatever It Takes supports youth entrepreneurs, serving as a platform for high school students to showcase their business ideas.

The competition provides students with a remarkable opportunity to showcase their talents, validate their business ideas, and gain experience. The competition is supported by the Do-or-Dier Foundation and Diamond Challenge.

How to Apply

Student Startup applications can be submitted by an individual or team. Fill out the online Student Startup application to be considered as a finalist.

Selected finalists will present their startup product to a panel of judges and a live audience at SXSW EDU, March 7-10, 2022 in Austin, Texas.

Application Opens: Wednesday, October 6
Application Closes: Tuesday, November 30

Apply For Student Startup

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be a currently enrolled high school student and 13 years or older in order to be considered.
  • Both national and international applicants are eligible.
  • Solo entrepreneurs and team applicants qualify.

The competition is not limited to specific business categories and all types of startups are welcome. To learn more about our past finalists, visit our Competition History page.

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