Aspiring entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh and across the United States are invited to apply now to the 2023-2024 Duquesne New Venture Challenge (DNVC) hosted by the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business. 

Individuals and teams looking to develop new ideas and growing startups with a commercial and/or social mission must complete their applications by Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, at midnight to compete for $100,000+ in cash and service prizes offered in the fifth annual New Venture Challenge.

The DNVC, a three-stage business plan competition, provides opportunities for entrants to do everything from executing business concepts, assessing target markets and networking to pitching startups to investors and regional leaders and more!

“Now in its fifth year, the DNVC has become one of the best difference-making business plan competitions in our region,” said Dr. Dean McFarlin, dean of the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business. “We have a track record of supporting some of the most promising early-stage ventures anywhere, and I encourage entrepreneurs seeking cash, guidance and visibility to enter the DNVC. Launching a new business means you have decided it’s time for bigger goals, and the DNVC offers a great opportunity to realize your start-up dreams.”

Applicants can consist of one individual or teams of up to five individuals that do not have any legally registered entity associated with their entry longer than four years as of the DNVC’s Nov. 12, 2023, submission deadline.

The competition’s three phases include:

  • Stage I: Submission of a short summary of the entrant’s business with a one-minute video pitch via YouTube. Up to three teams will be selected for the top video pitches and $1,500 will be awarded to the winner. Up to 15 semi-finalists will be chosen to advance to Stage II.
  • Stage II: Semi-finalists will submit an executive summary, short business plan and a five-minute video pitch. Each semi-finalist will receive $1,000, as well as access to the resources in the business school’s Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship to support their product development and deployment.
  • Stage III: Up to five finalists will submit executive summaries, business plans, PowerPoint presentations and a 15-minute presentation to a panel of seasoned judges followed by a Q&A session. Cash prizes totaling more than $40,000 will be awarded to these teams—the winning team will receive $20,000.

The top three finalists will receive additional prizes and support, including legal services via the Duquesne University School of Law, business consulting services from Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and advisement meetings with Palumbo-Donahue School of Business entrepreneurship program leaders.

Visit for more information and to submit your entry to the 2023-2024 Duquesne New Venture Challenge.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,000 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

It's time for bigger goals
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August 31, 2023