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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) is looking to fire up the entrepreneurial spirits of high school students with the launch of a statewide high school business model competition.

The Wisconsin High School Business Model Competition is now underway and will take students through the journey of creating and refining an original business product/model, while also offering the chance to earn up to $8,000 in scholarships to UW Oshkosh.

The CEI at UWO is recognized globally for its entrepreneurial programming, which services the growing entrepreneurial environment in Oshkosh and beyond. With the support of Alta Resources, it has helped dozens of UWO students start their own businesses through a variety of educational programs and contests. And thanks to a recent $50,000 gift from an anonymous donor, the CEI is looking to expand its local entrepreneurial outreach to involve more high school students.

For the past four years, CEI Executive Director Colleen Merrill and her team have extended UWO entrepreneurial experiences to area high schools through competitions. Merrill said she is looking forward to now expanding the pitch contest to include all of Wisconsin.

“In an innovative economy, there is no traditional path to success,” Merrill said. “The Wisconsin High School Business Model Competition is one way we can help students to ignite their curiosity, develop self-confidence and learn resiliency. Our future is dependent on us finding new, better and more sustainable ways to live and enjoy life.”

The contest’s first round takes place online and requires the submission of an application through Reviewr. Students have until April 5 to formulate their business ideas and apply. Applicants will need to explain their startup idea, what they feel is their unique selling proposition and why the product or service is better than what’s already on the market.

Each submission will be evaluated by a panel of  business professionals. Thirty teams will be selected to advance to the final competition at UWO, where they will have three minutes to pitch their ideas followed by two minutes of questions and answers from the judges. Finalists will be announced April 17.


  • 1st place: $8,000 scholarship to attend UWO
  • 2nd place: $5,000 scholarship to attend UWO
  • 3rd place: $2,000 scholarship to attend UWO

Students not attending UWO will be presented with a maximum award of $200 per team member. Awards will be distributed evenly among team members.

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