Students and faculty from 12 countries will gather at Virginia Tech to compete, collaborate, and network at the annual Global Entrepreneur Challenge, hosted by the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs, on August 16-25.

The challenge allows student teams to pitch their business ideas to compete for a $30,000 grand prize. “It’s a great opportunity for them to demonstrate their energy and ingenuity through business ideas that can contribute to the global economy,” said Derick Maggard, executive director of the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs.

The faculty attendees will participate in a roundtable event, hosted by the Apex Center, where they will discuss their entrepreneurship support programs, including best practices and innovations at their institutions.

“Learning best practices is key to entrepreneurship education,” said Maggard. 

For universities seeking to instill the entrepreneurial mindset in its students, there is no better way to learn best practices than to experience what others are doing through a roundtable discussion to share ideas and explore ways to collaborate one with another, he said.

“This is why Virginia Tech brings together these great partners from around the globe to share ideas and collaborate around entrepreneurship education.” The annual challenge, he said, has stimulated a “multi-layered, ongoing cooperative association of regions building social and academic relationships.”

This year’s 13 participating university partners are Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, Chile; Ghent University, Belgium; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile; Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany; Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico; University of British Columbia, Canada; University of Kent, United Kingdom; University of Technology Sydney, Australia; University of Trento, Italy; Vienna University of Technology, Austria; Virginia Tech, U.S.; and ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland. 

The Technical University of Darmstadt team won the preliminary, virtual round of the challenge. 

The event begins with two days in Washington, D.C., where student teams will visit museums and monuments and participate in tours and educational sessions at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington and the U.S. Capitol. 

In Blacksburg, the students will be hosted by local families, receive coaching from successful technology companies, and enjoy fellowship and meals with Virginia Tech students.

complete list of the finalist teams and their business concepts is available here. 

The Virginia Tech community can register for free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis to attend the challenge, held in the President’s Suite of Lane Stadium on Thursday, August 23.

The event is being sponsored by AccentureVirginia Tech Outreach and International AffairsThe Branch GroupVPTBrown EdwardsCarilion ClinicCity of RoanokeG.J. HopkinsMontgomery County Department of Economic DevelopmentPlastics OneRackspaceShentelSMBWSunTrust Banks, Inc.Third SecurityTown of BlacksburgUnion Bank & TrustVirginia Tech Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, and Wordsprint Marketing Services.

For more information, contact Lindsey Eversole, global program manager at Apex Center for Entrepreneurs, at

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