Competitions

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


Launch Competition – SXSW EDU 2022 – Photo by Holly Jee

Launch Competition – SXSW EDU 2022 – Photo by Holly Jee

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

2019 Learn by Design - Armando Manalo

The SXSW EDU Learn By Design competition provided an exceptional forum for showcasing our project to a broader community of like-minded peers working at the intersection of education, architecture, and digital media.

Armando Manalo
2019 Learn by Design Finalists / LabVenture

2017 Media - The 74million.org

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.

The 74million.org

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.

Launch Startup Competition

 

The Launch Startup Competition, presented by Walton Family Foundation, celebrates emerging innovations making an impact on the future of teaching and learning. The fast-paced pitch competition allows early-stage startups to seek feedback, investment, strategic partnerships, and exposure. Selected finalists will pitch in front of a panel of industry experts and educators, as well as an audience at SXSW EDU 2023.

Competition 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 that have raised over $8 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.

Finalists and runners up will gain the following by participating in the competition:

Finalists
  • Receive 2 complimentary credentials to SXSW EDU 2023
  • Pitch live to an audience of educators, investors, entrepreneurs, and innovators on the Next Stage in the SXSW EDU Expo
  • Have access to coaching sessions with savvy entrepreneurs selected by SXSW EDU to help participants refine and perfect their pitch
  • Have the opportunity to win one out of several awards
  • Participate in our Startup Spotlight, a cocktail-style reception where teams can connect one-on-one with attendees, demo products and receive valuable, real-time feedback
  • Attend an invite-only networking event for startups and investors in attendance
Runners Up
  • Receive 2 complimentary credentials to SXSW EDU 2023
  • Participate in our Startup Spotlight, a cocktail-style reception where teams can connect one-on-one with attendees, demo products and receive valuable, real-time feedback
  • Attend an invite-only networking event for startups and investors in attendance

The Launch Competition application is now closed.

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. Selected finalists will pitch in front of a panel of judges as well as an audience at SXSW EDU 2023.

Competition 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 Student Startup Competition application is now closed.

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