UT Tyler


NOTICE:  The submission deadline has been extended to 11/15.

The East Texas High School Idea Challenge is the largest innovation competition in East Texas for high school students. The Idea Challenge is designed to encourage, support, and inspire the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs with the goal of growing East Texas’ knowledge and economy.

All East Texas high schools are invited to submit teams of 2-5 students to participate in the Challenge. The winning team’s school will receive $2,500, with second place taking home $1,000. The monetary award can be invested in the school’s entrepreneurship and innovation programming. Winning students will earn a scholarship to study at The University of Texas at Tyler.

2020 Registration is Open!

Please fill out the form on our registration page.

How does it work?

The challenge will be conducted in two competitive rounds.

Round 1 will require all interested teams to submit a YouTube video of their elevator pitch.  Judges will evaluate the entries and select the top pitches.  The selected teams will be invited to prepare a complete launch plan.

Round 2 will consist of a tournament-style competition held on The University of Texas at Tyler campus.  Teams will present their complete launch plan to our panel of judges. Judges will select the winner(s) from this round to receive a monetary award and scholarships.

What is the Timetable?

October 14th, 2019

Elevator Pitch Submissions Open

November 15th, 2019

Deadline to Submit Elevator Pitch

November 22nd, 2019

Judging of Elevator Pitch Complete

December 20th, 2019

Deadline to Submit Written Launch Plan

January 10th, 2020

Launch Plan Competition


Who is Eligible?

The challenge is open to all high schools (grades 9-12) in the following counties: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Gregg, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Jasper, Jefferson, Kaufman, Lamar, Liberty, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Rains, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Tyler, Upsher, Van Zandt, Wood.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch should be a short description of your idea, product, service that explains the concept in a way that will engage the listener.

The Idea

There is not a central problem for the teams to solve. This is an opportunity for entrepreneurial students to identify a problem that needs a solution or an untapped market.

The Video

How do I submit my elevator pitch?
Step 1: Create a YouTube account.
Step 2: Upload your video.  Here a instructions on how to upload your video.
Step 3: Copy the link to the uploaded video and paste it into the application form.

How long is the video?
The video should be long enough to present your elevator pitch, but no longer than three minutes

The Teams

Do team members have to be from the same high school?
Yes, this competition will be based on schools.

Can a school have more than one team?
Yes, as long as each team has at least two members but no more than five members.

The Competition

What is a Launch Plan?
The Launch Plan will describe how the team can move development of their idea to the next phase.  Detailed instructions of what to include will be provided to the teams reaching the second round.

Is this competition associated with UIL or have any effect on UIL status?
No, it is not.

Will the competition be organized by school size or other characteristics?
No, all schools will be compete as one group.

Who do I contact with further questions?
If you have any questions or would like more information on the event, please contact:

Brandon Reynolds
Economic Engagement Director

UT Tyler