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U.S. Department of Education Asks Students for Education Startup Ideas

The United States Department of Education is asking students to contribute ideas for a unique education startup as part of its National Education Startup Challenge going on right now.

The purpose of the competition is to encourage students to come up with solutions for helping fellow students enter college and the workforce more ready to tackle real-world challenges as well as to encourage students as innovators and entrepreneurs.

The competition is open to students across the United States, and entries can be made by submitting a business plan as well as a video pitch. Videos should introduce a unique, original idea for a startup venture covering one of the four challenge topics.

Challenge topics include:

  • "Middle Grades Matter," covering ideas for helping students transition to high school and beyond;
  • "Skills, Skills, Skills," for encouraging skill-building ideas;
  • "Education Pays," which covers entries allowing students to pick affordable postsecondary education; and
  • "Finish Faster," covering ideas to help increase retention rates.

The exact nature of the startup is up to the discretion of each entrant and may consist of either for-profit or non-profit ideas designed to offer products, services, or strategies designed to help students. Entries can address any of the four challenge topics.

The challenge competition is open students who have begun the sixth grade up through high school graduates and students continuing their education at the postsecondary level. The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2012.

Entrants and their submissions will be judged as part of three categories based on age including:

  • Grades 6-8;
  • Grades 9-12; and
  • Undergraduate/postsecondary students.

A panel of educators and entrepreneurs will judge all of the submitted entries.

Winning entries will receive national recognition and may be eligible for further honors and opportunities.

More information is available online at nesc.challenge.gov or at challenge.gov. Questions can also be submitted by e-mail to EDStartupChallenge@ed.gov or to scott.hess@ed.gov.

Information is also available by phone by calling Scott Hess at 202-245-7772.

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