Sharpen your competitive edge

At Kellogg, we recognize that business competitions provide a highly valuable and rigorous learning experience, regardless of whether your career goals include launching a business, growing an enterprise or designing a corporate innovation initiative.

Competitions allow you to gain feedback from customers and industry experts, the ability to expand your network, hone your pitch, receive non-dilutive startup funding and test your innovative ideas early and often.

They also give you the chance to win funding — something that Kellogg students have an incredible track record of accomplishing. Learn more about some of our recent students’ successes on our Highlights page.

Beating the odds

A team of Kellogg students took home 11 awards and nearly $200,000 at business competitions for their medical-device startup, Innoblative.

Apply for funding

To help manage the competition costs, Kellogg invites students to apply for this special funding:

Levy Institute

The Levy Institute helps cover travel expenses and provides coaching for students competing in business pitch competitions. Email at least three weeks in advance of each competition to request support.

Heizer Center

The Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital may provide reimbursement to students participating in private equity and venture capital competitions. Contact the Heizer Center at for more information.

Social Impact

Project Impact helps cover travel expenses to business plan competitions with a focus on promoting a sustainable positive impact on people and/or the planet. Learn more about opportunities and resources at Kellogg for travel to business plan competitions that promote social impact.

Business Competitions at Kellogg and Northwestern University

Application deadlines and competition dates vary by year. Please visit the competition websites for more information, or contact us at


Kellogg Business Design Challenge

Fall Quarter / Open to Kellogg students only

Sponsored by Kellogg’s Innovation and Design Association (IDEA), this annual competition invites students to apply design thinking to a real-world business challenge. In previous years, 3M’s Scotch Brand, McDonald’s Sustainability Group and Hyatt’s Gold Passport Loyalty Program have participated as partners in the challenge. The competition is ideal for students who are interested in working in corporate innovation after graduation.

Kellogg Education Technology Incubator

Fall Quarter / Open to Kellogg students only

Created by students and senior leadership at the Kellogg School of Management, the mission of the Kellogg Education Technology Incubator (KETI) is to help the school create the premier technology experience amongst business schools by harnessing the power of student-led innovation. Students have the opportunity to submit participate in a pitch competition. If their idea is chosen, winners receive the backing of the Dean’s Office, along with funding and the opportunity to pilot their idea using the school as their first customer.

NU Elevator Pitch Night

FALL Quarter

Sponsored by the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative and the entrepreneurship clubs on campus, students and teams from across the university compete in this 60-second elevator pitch competition for cash prizes and a chance to try out an idea.

Kellogg Venture Challenge

Winter Quarter

Sponsored by the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Kellogg Entrepreneur’s Organization (KEO), the Kellogg Venture Challenge gives students an opportunity to pitch their startup idea and gain valuable feedback from members of the startup and Kellogg School community. The competition offers $10,000 in prizes.


Spring Quarter / Open to Northwestern students only

VentureCat, a showcase and celebration of Northwestern’s most promising student startups, culminates in a pitch competition in which over $100,000 is distributed to student ventures. Formerly known as NUVC, VentureCat distinguishes itself from other competitions around the globe by organizing competitors in industry-specific tracks, which leverages the rich expertise of distinct schools from across the University in both graduate and undergraduate programs, and awarding top teams with non-dilutive capital.

Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition (KREVC)

Spring Quarter / Open to graduate students only

Hosted by KIEI and the Kellogg Real Estate Program, this team-based competition invites MBA students to pitch ideas for real estate ventures to a panel of high-profile judges. The winning team receives a cash prize and the opportunity to secure as much as $10 million in equity funding.

Venture Capital & Private Equity

Kellogg Venture Capital Investment Challenge

Winter Quarter / Open to Kellogg students only

This internal competition is designed to help Kellogg students prepare to participate in the international Venture Capital Investment Challenge, Students must submit an application to the challenge. Those selected will receive mentorship, coaching and support from Kellogg faculty, KIEI and the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital.

Corporate Innovation

Education Innovation Case Competition

Fall Quarter / Open to Kellogg students only

Hosted by the Education Industry Club, this annual case competition is focused on education and sponsored by the Mind Trust. Teams of Kellogg students must apply and gain acceptance to compete against teams from top business schools. If you are interested in applying to participate, please attend the pre-competition information session. Questions about this event? Contact the Education Industry Club via their site.

Corporate Innovation Challenges

Ongoing throughout the year

Kellogg partners with many corporate innovation departments who are interested in working with students on specific challenges. These challenges can last a few days or up to two quarters. Recent corporate partners have included Allstate, U.S. Cellular, Bosch, Gallo Wines, and Visa. To learn more, contact the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative via

In addition to these NU- and Kellogg-sponsored competitions, KIEI supports the participation of MBA students in external competitions. For a list of recommended competitions, deadlines and opportunities for financial/mentorship support, contact


Kellogg offers competitions for social innovators in entrepreneurship and impact investing.

Northwestern Competitions & Events

The Garage at Northwestern University hosts challenges and competitions throughout the year, including Wildfire, a startup accelerator program.

Competition Resources

Interested in competing in external startup, innovation, business and investment competitions? Contact us for a list of relevant competitions.


The Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative hosts events year-round for students, alumni, faculty and a strong entrepreneurial network.


Our faculty and programming provide real-world insights and solutions to the broader business community.