The Next Great StartUp

Advance your idea. Win cash prizes.
Applications due Feb. 21, 2022

Get your idea off the ground

What is The Next Great Startup?

The Next Great Startup is OSU’s university-wide competition for students looking for support to develop and advance a new business idea. Student participants receive friendly support from OSU business faculty and industry mentors, meet other students who are excited about getting new ideas off the ground, and have the chance to win cash prizes and recognition.

The Next Great Startup is hosted by InnovationX, the OSU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in partnership with our generous sponsors. The competition takes place in three rounds (Preliminaries, Semifinals and Finals) over two terms. Teams progressively develop their ideas and presentations through each round with feedback and support from the InnovationX team. The Preliminary rounds are held in winter term and the Semifinal and Final rounds take place in spring term.

Any type of business idea is eligible, and undergraduate and graduate students of all majors may apply.


Apply Now

The 2020 winner of the Next Great Startup

Open to all students

The Next Great Startup is for students who may just be exploring what it’s like to get a new idea off the ground. The competition is for new business ideas (i.e., “startups”) led by OSU students. Eligible business ideas include concepts that have not previously generated more than $10,000 in revenue nor received more than $10,000 in outside investment (i.e., sources other than members of the team).

Teams can submit ideas for small businesses, consulting businesses, lifestyle businesses, social enterprises, or scalable or buyable startups. However, proposed ideas must not be in violation of OSU policy or federal law.

Teams may be of any size, including solo competitors, and may include participants who are not OSU students (e.g., OSU alumni, faculty, and staff; students from other universities; or individuals not associated with any university). However, teams must be led by a current OSU student who is currently registered in a degree-granting program and is in good academic standing. Only one student from each team should submit a competition entry and only one entry per concept is allowed.


How to Apply


We're here to support you

We'll help you every step of the way — attend an information session, workshop, or just stop by during drop-in hours. Don't know how to craft your script, create a slide deck, or record your presentation? We can help you with that, too.

Preparation & Support




Teams develop their ideas and presentations in Preliminaries, Semifinal, Final rounds. Each time receiving feedback and support from the InnvoationX team.


Preliminary rounds are held winter term; Semifinal and Final rounds take place in spring term. This allows students time to prepare.


Final round teams compete for cash awards, services, and scholarships. Every team wins by gaining experience and networking.

Preliminary Round

Student teams compete in the college preliminary associated with their major or minor degree program(s). If student teams are associated with multiple participating colleges, they may choose which preliminary to compete in; however, teams may not submit the same concept to multiple preliminary competitions. Teams that are not associated with any participating college may compete in the InnovationX All-comers competition, which is open to students of any major.

Participating colleges for the 2022 Next Great Startup Competition:

  • College of Business: any College of Business major or minor is eligible
  • College of Engineering: any College of Engineering major or minor is eligible
  • College of Forestry: any College of Forestry major or minor is eligible
  • College of Liberal Arts: any College of Liberal Arts major or minor is eligible
  • College of Public Health & Human Sciences: any College of Public Health & Human Sciences major or minor is eligible
  • InnovationX All-comers: students of any major are eligible
A student presenting at The Next Great Startup

To enter the competition, students create a slide deck and record themselves presenting their ideas, facing and speaking directly to the camera. The presentation must be recorded in Zoom in one unedited single take and saved in mp4 format. You may choose to re-record your pitch until you are happy with the final take. Do not edit your recording (e.g., combine multiple recordings, increase your video’s playback speed, etc.); this is meant to be as close to a live experience of your pitch as possible.

The presentation video must be no more than 3 minutes. Any videos with editing will be returned to participants to re-record, time permitting. Entries over 3-minutes will be clipped at the 3-minute mark prior to judging. (See Recording Your Presentation below for details).

Entries must be submitted through the online application no later than 5 pm on Monday, February 21, 2022. Entries submitted after this time are not guaranteed to be accepted.

Assistance is available for developing your business idea and crafting your presentation. (See Preparation and Support below). You may also email questions to Michelle Marie, InnovationX program manager, at

All teams that participate in the Preliminary round will receive feedback on how to advance their ideas further and learn about resources to help them succeed.

Judges will select at least one winner from each college Preliminary to receive a $250 cash award and a $350 scholarship to enroll in Launch Academy, the OSU incubator.

Preliminary round winners will also be matched with a coach who will help them prepare for the Semifinals round of the competition.

Judges will evaluate submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Narrative: How well has the student or team defined the purpose, vision, values and/or story behind their venture, including articulating it clearly and presenting it compellingly?
  • Desirability: How well has the student or team identified and clearly defined target users or customers, and crafted a compelling value proposition that states what will be offered and how the offering creates unique benefits?
  • Feasibility: How well has the student or team investigated and determined, preliminarily and at a high level, which resources and capabilities are required to design, produce, and deliver the envisioned offering?
  • Viability: How well has the student or team identified a realistic pricing model and investigated key unit and operating cost factors?

Semifinal and Final Round

Winning teams from the Preliminary rounds will be invited to present live in the Semifinal round. Select semifinalists will be invited to the Final round of the competition.

Both Semifinal and Final rounds will take place during spring term.

The Semifinal will take place on Friday, April 29, from 1-4pm.

The Final will take place on Friday, May 20 from 1-4pm.

A student presenting at The Next Great Startup

Final round teams will compete for cash awards, legal and accounting services, AWS computing/storage and database services, and scholarships to enroll in Launch Academy, the OSU student business incubator.


The InnovationX team is here to support you. Should you have technical difficulties, email Michelle Marie at as soon as your issue arises so that we can troubleshoot with you.

Please do not wait until the last moment to create, record and upload your presentation! You should anticipate that technical issues may arise, or that you will have difficulty meeting the required time limit. Give yourself time to manage those challenges, and limit your own stress, by getting ahead of the deadline. We cannot guarantee that late entries will be included.