The Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is the premier global competition for student entrepreneurs who actively run a business. EO GSEA is an exclusive opportunity for student entrepreneurs to make connections, find resources, and grow their businesses!
If you are crazy enough to run a business between classes, this is the competition for you. The competition is for undergraduate students (pursuing a bachelor’s degree). The competition is first run geographically then globally. Find a region close to you and then apply.
- You must be enrolled in a university/college as an undergraduate or graduate* student at the time of application. Full-time enrollment is not required; part-time enrollment is acceptable.
- You must be the owner, founder or controlling shareholder of your company and principally responsible for its operation. Each company can be represented by only one owner/co-founder.
- Operation of a for-profit business or social enterprise, for at least six months prior to the application with generated revenue of US$500 or US$1,000 in investment/backing.
- You should not have been one of the top six finalists from any previous year’s GSEA Global Finals Competition.
- The age cap for participation is 35 years of age.
*Graduate students are eligible to apply only if they have continually enrolled in a university following their undergraduate degree and not left school to work on their business or to seek other employment. Exceptions can be made for students who have taken up to 12 months’ break before beginning their postgraduate education.
Students are scored by a panel of judges and receive numeric scores on the following criteria:
Part 1: Evaluate the Entrepreneur
- Does the student demonstrate the tenacious spirit needed to succeed as an entrepreneur? Has he/she encountered challenges, overcome them, and learned from mistakes?
- Is the student effectively integrating the two roles of life – as a student AND a business owner?
- EO Core Value #1 – Boldly Go – Is the student taking smart risks and evolving to meet changing circumstances?
- EO Core Value #2 – Thirst for Learning – Is the student seeking out expert advice and wisdom, and proactively growing their own knowledge? Are they naturally curious?
- EO Core Value #3 – Make a Mark – Is the student innovating, planning for the future and distinguishing him/herself from the field? Is he/she taking a long view rather than just quick wins?
- EO Core Value #4 – Trust and Respect – Has the student demonstrated an appropriate degree of trust and respect in his/her interactions with the judges? Is he/she showing their true self, demonstrating vulnerability and openness? Would you find him/her trustworthy?
- EO Core Value #5 – Cool – Does the student have a unique personal identity that he/she brings to the business? Is the business in alignment with his/her identity and values? Do they come across as confident and genuine?
Part 2: Evaluate the Business
- Has the student demonstrated a knowledge of strong business fundamentals and shown that they are in practice in the business? Has he/she provided information relating to the growth, revenue and profit of the business?
- Has the student effectively communicated the business and its vision?
- Does the business show strong potential for future growth?
Benefit of Awards:
Prizes are generally a combination of cash and business services, and will vary by location.
- Access to successful entrepreneurs. Feedback. Mentorship.
- Students will represent their business and country on a worldwide stage in Toronto, Canada
- Refined elevator pitches. Going head to head with other business owners and answering tough questions about their business to our judges helps competitors improve their pitch skills and enhance their ability to communicate the value proposition of their business.
- Additional awards are given at the Global Finals for Social Impact, Innovation, and Lessons from the Edge.
How to Apply:
- Fill out the online application at
- After we have received the application, we will review the application in detail.
- If selected to compete, someone from GSEA will contact you to give you further information on the location of the competition and how to prepare.
Vary according to Regions. Deadlines for competitions in Africa are listed below:
- South Africa: 23rd November 2017
- Nigeria: 30th November 2017
- Zimbabwe: 1st December 2017
- Zambia: 12th January 2018
GSEA Finals: 14th-17th April 2018.