Startup Challenge Registration

Review the eligibility guidelines, requirements and registration process

The Startup Challenge is open to all UIW students – undergraduate and graduate – regardless of major or program of study, as well as some faculty and staff. Cross-disciplinary teams are encouraged.

Please review the following guidelines to learn more about who can participate in the challenge and the requirements for business ideas.

  • Students may only participate in teams of 2-5 people. Individual submissions are not allowed.
  • Students are restricted to participation on a single team to avoid conflicts of interest between business ideas and lack of commitment to one particular business idea.
  • A team may consist of students enrolled at UIW, as well as faculty and staff employed by UIW. Faculty and staff are eligible only in the following scenarios:
  • If the faculty or staff member is the founder or originator of the idea, and/or
  • If the intellectual property of the startup in question is owned by the faculty or staff member.
  • The list of team members registered at the start of the competition may not be modified during the competition. If a team member is dismissed from or voluntarily quits the team and the remaining team comprises less than two members, that team is no longer be eligible to participate, and will be dropped from the competition.
  • The proposed business idea must be wholly owned by the participating students for the duration of the competition and may not infringe upon the copyright or other intellectual property right of any third party.
  • Prior UIW Business Plan Competition or New Venture Startup Competition award winners are not eligible to enter the same business plan or a spinoff of that plan.
  • Teams or team members that have received a previous prize or funds from UIW can compete if their business idea submission to the Startup Challenge is completely different from their prior competition submissions.
  • The final determination of eligibility is made by competition administrators.
  • Each team can submit only one business idea.
  • Proposed ventures must be projected to be financially profitable, be lawful and create jobs. The proposed venture must complement the mission of the H-E-B School of Business and Administration, as well as the University of the Incarnate Word.
  • All entries must be the original work of the students and free from any claim of copyright, patent or other restriction. The business idea should not be in violation of any intellectual property rights.
  • This competition will accept only ideas for new and independent ventures in the seed and startup stages.
  • Submission of proposals to acquire an established company to improve its management or ideas to create a hedge fund or any other type of venture capital fund will be rejected.
  • Participants who make it to Phase 2 of the challenge are required to participate in all the activities associated with the competition.
  • Participants should respect community values, such as honesty and integrity. The administrators of the Startup Challenge reserve the right to remove students who enter business plans for ventures or proposed ventures that are offensive, illegal and/or that are inconsistent with the values of UIW.
  • Plagiarism of ideas will result in disqualification.

Legal Considerations for Participation

Please read the terms and conditions before registering for the Startup Challenge. Participants are required to adhere to the conditions as described below.

Rights Reserved

UIW reserves the right to change the General Rules and Eligibility to Participate at any time, in its sole discretion, and to suspend or cancel the Startup Challenge or any entrant's participation in the competition should unauthorized human intervention or other causes beyond UIW’s control, affect the administration, security or proper play of the competition. No responsibility is assumed and entrants waive all claims for lost, late or misdirected entries, or for technical malfunctions or problems, the website or any combination, including any injury or damage to entrant's or any other person's computer resulting from any causes. Entrants who violate the Startup Challenge rules, tamper with the operation of the competition or engage in any conduct that is detrimental or unfair to the Startup Challenge, or any other entrant (in each case as determined in UIW’s sole discretion), are subject to disqualification from the competition. Sponsors reserve the right to remove and disqualify any entrant whose eligibility is in question.

Release and Waiver

By entering, participants, without limitation, release and hold harmless UIW, and their respective directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and all liability for any injuries, loss or damage of any kind in connection with the Startup Challenge; including intellectual property and/or lost business opportunities damages. By entering this competition, you agree to waive any right to claim ambiguity or error in the rules or in the competition itself.

Students retain the rights to the plans regarding its use prior to and following the contest. The plans may not contain any knowingly false information about the background, experience or education of the team or the performance of the venture’s proposed or existing products/services.

The winning team members may be required to submit a completed W-9 form.

This Agreement and competition shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas and exclusive venue shall be in Bexar County, Texas.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property

This Startup Challenge honors the confidentiality of all participants' business ideas and proposals. Business ideas, overviews and plans will not be copied for any purposes other than use in this competition. 

All submitted information is deemed the property of the participating teams. All judges and staff are working professionals and investors who routinely evaluate business plans and understand the need for confidentiality and sensitivity of the materials being presented to them. However, they do not sign any non-disclosure agreements to participate in this competition. Teams are strongly encouraged NOT to provide any specifics or details that are considered to be intellectual property or the key to intellectual property. There will be no penalty in judging when a question or issue is not fully addressed because of concerns over confidentiality.

Student presentations are open to the public. Students are encouraged to use discretion when sharing technical information about their products and services in public venues to help protect any intellectual property rights they might have.

As a competitor, you are responsible to protect any information concerning your business that you share with mentors, team members and fellow participants of the competition. UIW takes no responsibility for unwanted disclosure in these instances. Ultimately, protection of sensitive materials is the sole responsibility of the teams participating in the competition.

Publicity Release

Participant irrevocably consents to and authorizes UIW, its officers and employees to photograph, publish, exhibit, reproduce, edit, modify, distribute, display or otherwise use or reuse the participant’s image, voice and/or likeness, with or without the product or presentation, in all markets, media or technology, as long as there is no intent to use the image, voice and/or likeness in a disparaging manner. University may exercise any of these rights itself or through any successors, licensees or other parties, commercial or nonprofit.

Participant waives any right of review or inspection and agrees and understands that UIW shall be without liability to participant for any distortion or illusionary effect resulting from the publication or dissemination of any likeness, audio recording or other image.

Participant understands that UIW exclusively owns all rights to these images and recordings irrespective of the form in which they are produced or used, and authorizes UIW to use the items, at any time in perpetuity without further compensation or permission.



Registration for the Startup Challenge begins in the summer preceding the competition and is not yet open.