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Now Accepting Applications for VenturePack Startup Challenge

Through your hat in the ring for NC State Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s VenturePack Challenge. Check out these frequently asked questions to learn more!

Travis McKay of Spir Medical accepts the 1st place award in the "Think" category on stage

What is the VenturePack Challenge?

Originating in 2009, the VenturePack Challenge, formerly known as eGames, is an NC State student competition created for the purpose of providing guidance, resources, mentorship and cash to NC State student entrepreneurs. Maybe you’re working on a non-profit organization, a for-profit business, a solo-preneur with a side hustle, or maybe you’re not exactly sure what type of founder you may be! All ventures, organizational types, size and stages are welcome in the VenturePack Challenge. 

There are two tracks for the competition – the student track and the Daugherty Endowment Track for officially registered startup companies that have licensed NC State intellectual property in the past three years.

Teams must forgo two rounds of judging across different categories, measuring everything from market feasibility, financial strategy and beyond. The student track is open to all undergraduate and graduate student teams comprised of at least 50% degree-seeking NC State students.

VenturePack Challenge Timeline

  • Feb. 18 – First round applications due by midnight
  • March 9 – Finalists announced and notified
  • March 24 – Business plans due from finalists to move to the semi-final round
  • April 5 – Finalists Pitch Day
  • April 15 -VPC Celebration and Awards Ceremony at Talley Student Union from 5:30 – 7 p.m.

*Dates are subject to change.

Info Sessions

We are hosting three info sessions to answer questions before applications are due. RSVP to join a virtual call and chat with our team. If you missed them and have questions about the VenturePack Challenge application, email us at

  • Feb. 1 – 4 – 5 p.m.
  • Feb. 7 – 2 – 3 p.m.
  • Feb. 12 – 11 – 12 p.m.

*Dates are subject to change.

More about the Daugherty Endowment Track

The Daugherty Endowment Track has been a contributing partner of the eGames since 2016, with the primary goal of increasing the success of startup companies based on NC State IP. The Daugherty Endowment Track is open to officially registered startup companies who have licensed NC State intellectual property in the past three years — meaning their licenses must be currently active. The funds allocated to winning companies can be used for critical early-stage business expenses.  For the past five years, the Daugherty Track has awarded prizes totaling $50,000 each year – with first place receiving $25,000, second receiving $15,000 and third receiving $10,000.


What type of businesses are allowed to compete?

All kinds! As long as your team meets the eligibility criteria on the first page of the application, we are accepting startups of all types, sizes, and industries from NC State students. We’ve had everything from bakeries to exoskeletons compete in prior years.

Do I have to have a team to compete?

No! Students may work in teams or individually. 

How do I find out if I qualify to participate?

The main qualifier for VenturePack Challenge is making sure the team’s founding members contain at least 50% degree-seeking NC State students that are currently enrolled as degree-seeking students during the semester. Teams that have non-NC State students are still eligible to participate as long as ONLY the NC State student team members partake in any stage of the competition (i.e., Round 1, Round 2, live pitch day). Full eligibility guidelines are listed at the beginning of the application.

Do I include a freelancer as part of my team?

No. Only include permanent team members. We recommend you only include founding team members. If you win award money, the money will be split between the members you list. 

One of the application questions asks if we have received investments from an outside entity. Do I include funding from external sources or previous universities?

Yes! You must include any funding you’ve received from friends, family, previous competitions, accelerators, awards, etc.

I’m worried my team won’t win, and the application looks long. Is it worth applying to the VenturePack Challenge?

Absolutely! While we largely recommend you apply if you are serious about the business idea you are presenting, teams often remark how useful the competition is by itself. While you may not win an award, you may learn some really valuable things about yourself and your business idea that will help either grow immensely. There’s more to your passions than the award money (though that money is pretty sweet)! In prior years, teams that won confessed they did not think there was a chance for them to win, so you never know! 

We have to submit a 1-minute pitch video. Can it go a little over that 1-minute mark?

No. Please keep your videos at 60-seconds max. Anything over 60-seconds will be disqualified. Remember that judges will be taking a look at this video, so do your best to pitch your idea, and don’t forget to smile! This video can be recorded with your phone (horizontal format is preferred) and you’re allowed to have all team members in the video or just 1 team representative doing the pitch. Just remember that team members must be active degree-seeking NC State students. Please remember to review the video to make sure the audio works and the lighting is good.

I’m working on this idea, but I’m spinning my wheels and don’t know where to go next. Help me!

Everyone has this feeling at some point. First, we’d recommend reaching out to your professors and advisors. Past that, we highly recommend you schedule a meeting with a team member of NC State Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Just email us at and we can point you in the right direction.

Applications for the 2024 VenturePack Challenge are live! Applications are due Feb. 18 at 11:59 p.m.