HBS New Venture Competition promotes ideas and ventures to change the world

New Venture gathering.

Photo courtesy Susan Young

2 min read

Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Klarman Hall was packed to capacity Thursday, with spectators there to support the 12 student finalist teams competing in the finale of the 26th annual HBS New Venture Competition (NVC). At stake was $225,000 in cash plus in-kind prizes to fund the startups. The top prize in the Student Business Track and Student Social Enterprise Track was $75,000 each, with runner-up prizes of $25,000; two audience prizes of $5,000; and $15,000 in Tough Technology prizes.

The NVC is open to all students and alumni interested in launching new business and social impact ventures. The School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI), in partnership with HBS Alumni Clubs & Associations, host the annual competition. This year, 318 teams entered the competition — 122 in the Student Business Track, 57 in the Student Social Enterprise Track, and 139 Alumni Track teams in eight regional competitions around the world. Since its inception in 1997, there have been 6,022 participants, and $2,980,000 has been awarded to the students and alumni who are creating groundbreaking new businesses and social impact ventures.

This year’s new venture pitches were vetted by more than 300 judges, including many HBS graduates, from fields such as venture capital, private equity, law, accounting, philanthropy, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship. The result was 20 finalists, eight in the Student Business Track, four in the Social Enterprise Track, and eight in the Alumni Track, in fields as varied as healthcare, sustainability, artificial intelligence, cosmetics, and even hair braiding.