Do you want to be the next young entrepreneur? Are you interested in solving problems that matter? Join our Startup Challenge 2023! 

Startup Challenge 2023 is a competition for high school students.

Our aim is to provide high school students with opportunities to experience entrepreneurship first hand and to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurial thinkers. At the Startup Challenge you will:

  • pitch your innovative business concept
  • meet like-minded students
  • work in teams with the help of dedicated mentors
  • research and develop an original startup idea
  • find innovative solutions to problems in business and in life
  • present to experienced entrepreneurs and businesspeople
  • receive feedback on your presentation
  • compete for prizes

Organizers: Engame Academy & Startup Hungary

Date: 24th (16:00) to 26th (20:00) of March, 2023

Location: Engame Academy (Budapest) & CEU (Budapest)


26th of February 5th of March (23:59) – Application deadline (ONLINE)

We are looking for individual applications of high school (Years 9-12.) students. The competition is limited to 72 participants. To increase your chances of getting in, send in your application as early as possible (don’t wait until the application deadline), and make sure to give us elaborated answers in the application form! 


7th of March – Training by Csongor Biás from Startup Hungary (ONLINE)

Participation at the online training is mandatory for wannabe competitors!

Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneur: Learn the Secrets of Building Your First Startup

by Csongor Biás, Managing Director at Startup Hungary

Are you ready to take your game to the next level and unleash your inner entrepreneur? Then this is the event for you! Join us for an interactive and fun-filled discussion where you’ll learn the ins and outs of building a successful startup. From idea generation to pitching, we’ll cover everything you need to know to give your startup a competitive edge. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain the tools you’ll need to utilize during this competition to increase your chances of winning!

Format: Interactive discussion (2x45min)
Platform: Zoom
Date and time: 7th of March, 4pm-6pm


  • 16:00-16:45: Startup 101
  • 16:45-17:00: Break
  • 17:00-17:45: Unleash your inner entrepreneur
  • 17:45-18:00: Q&A
Startup Hungary logo

10th of March – Announcement of the participant list (ONLINE)

We will announce the names of the 72 students who got selected to participate in the Startup Challenge 2023.


13th of March – Day One Capital Field Trip (BUDAPEST)

On the 13th of March, Monday, between 16:00 and 18:00 we will have the opportunity to visit the office of Day One Capital, our prize sponsor for the Startup Challenge. At this fieldtrip the participants will have the chance to look around in their office, talk to their employees and learn more about how a successful venture capital firm operates. The spots are limited to 20. We will send out an application form for this event in advance.

Day One Capital logo

14th of March – Wolt Field Trip (BUDAPEST)

On the 14th of March, Tuesday, between 16:00 and 18:00 we will have the opportunity to visit the Budapest headquarters of Wolt, our food sponsor for the Startup Challenge. At this fieldtrip you will have the chance to look around in their office, talk to their employees and learn more about how a successful food derlivery company operates. The spots are limited to 30. We will send out an application form for this event in advance.

Wolt logo

20th of March – Pitch training by David Trayford (ONLINE)

This program is not mandatory, but highly recommended for all competitors.

Learn how to pitch your business idea

You can have the best idea in the world but if nobody knows about it or can’t understand it then it has little to no chance of success. During this online call you will be taken through a simple process to make sure that what you present is clear and engaging with the added bonus that it also helps you to get the right focus on your business idea too. You will get notes after the training and plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

Format: Interactive discussion
Platform: Zoom
Date and time: 20th of March, 4pm-5pm

Hosted by David Trayford:

David works with individuals, startup teams, companies and organisations, large or small, on their communication and innovation strategies. He runs workshops and creates programs for schools and universities around the world preparing young people for the future skills needed to deal with the rapidly changing world. In his former life in banking and broking in London he was at the forefront of innovative financial products; has hosted stand-up comedy in many countries, helped produce plays, films, documentaries, radio and a wide variety of live events.

Pitch training


24th of March, Friday 16:00-23:00 – Location: Engame Academy (1122 Bp., 12. Maros street)

15:00 Arrival, registration
16:00 Opening speeches, technicalities, Q&A
16:35 Random idea generator pitch game
17:00 Pitches – startup ideas pitched for the competition
17:45 Voting – attendees vote for their favourite pitches
18:45 Teams forming
19:30 Teams start working (you can stay until 23:00 the latest)
23:00 Closing of the office

25th of March, Saturday 8:00-23:00 – Location: Engame Academy (1122 Bp., 12. Maros street)

08:00 Doors open, teams start working
10:00 Morning mentoring sessions
12:00 Lunch
16:00 Afternoon mentoring sessions
23:00 Closing of the office

26th of March, Sunday 8:00-20:00 – Location: CEU (1051 Bp., 15. Nádor Street)

08:00 Doors open, teams start working
11:00 Demo presentations – each team presents their final pitches to the mentors
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Announcing of the 10 teams who can present in front of the jury and the audience during the open program
15:00 Open program starts -> see the program here


1st prize: 200.000 Ft* + 8 hours of startup mentoring**

2nd prize: 100.000 Ft* + 4 hours of startup mentoring**

3rd prize:  50.000 Ft* + 2 hours of startup mentoring**

People’s choice award: 50.000 Ft*

*gross amount from which taxes will be paid, the net amount will be paid to one member of each winning team

**after the event in case the team decides to further pursue the business idea


Our amazing jury will announce the top three teams, the People’s Choice Award and will also give feedback on the presentations!

  • Csaba Kákosy – Managing Partner at DAY ONE CAPITAL Venture Capital Fund Management Company
  • Ákos Tajta – Regional GM Baltics & CE @ Wolt
  • Zsófia Tóth – Co-Founder & CEO at Volteum

Startup Challenge 2023

  • Startup Challenge 2023 is a competition for high school students (9-12th grade). The students will work on their business ideas from Friday evening, with the help of mentors, then the best 10 teams will be selected by the mentors to present in front our the jury and audience. Our jury will then evaluate the presentations, and announce the top three teams whose prizes are supported by Day One Capital. 
  • Sunday Open program – Part of the Startup Challenge, on Sunday afternoon we have a fully open, English language event, organized for high school students interested in startups, business, presentations and much more. Our lineup of speakers will cover multiple areas so the event can be interesting for students with different interests as well. Parents, teachers and other startup lovers are also welcome!

Check out some of the press coverage from last year here: 

Snapshots from the Startup Challenge 2022


Engame Akadémia logo

Engame Academy is a Budapest-based progressive education center. Our mission is to help high school students find their place in the world, and guide them to grow up happy and fulfilled. Steadily growing, we currently work with 350+ students. We offer a 4-year program taught exclusively in English. Tailored to their specific age group, we develop soft skills, academic competencies and provide individual mentoring.

Startup Hungary logo

Startup Hungary is an independent, entrepreneur-led organization launched to supercharge the startup community and to support the birth and development of more high growth potential tech companies in Hungary. It is founded by proven entrepreneurs and supported by key players of the startup ecosystem, who share a belief in Hungary’s potential as a regional hub and want to join forces to fuel its growth.


Wolt logo

Wolt is sponsoring the lunches of our amazing Startup Challenge competitors both on Saturday and Sunday. Students can choose from multiple restaurants and get healthy and energizing lunches during this intense weekend.

Day One Capital logo vertical

Day One Capital is sponsoring the prizes for the top three finisher teams and the People’s Choice Award. The top three teams will get cash prizes and startup mentoring after the event, the team winning the People’s Choice Award will receive a cash prizes.

CEU logo

CEU is sponsoring the Startup Challenge by offering space for our competitors to prepare on Sunday and also for the Sunday afternoon open program for all the interested guests in the auditorium.

Frequently Asked Questions

Application is open for high school students from grade 9th to 12th from all around the world. Physical participation is mandatory in the competition from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening. 

Yes, but one of your parents or legal guardians will have to fill out some parts of the sign up form. Also you have to be at least in 9th grade.

Yes, you are expected to have a good level of English (at least intermediate ~B2 level), since the official language of the Startup Challenge is English. You will have to work and present in English.

Yes. But we ask you to take your preparation for the competition seriously. We are going to help you though, in the following ways:

1.) Startup Hungary handpicked a dozen recommended books, links, videos and other goodies that help preparation. We will send these out to you via email after your application!

2.) On the 7th of March, Biás Csongor from Startup Hungary will deliver an online training for all the applicants. Participation is mandatory!

3.) During the weekend, experienced mentors will help you and your team!

Yes, definitely. This is important not only to preserve your own learning experience, but also to minimize distractions or disruptions for the team you choose to join.

No. Everyone who signs up for the event is expected to do so without a team and then form a team with another three students at the event on Friday. The ideal team consists of members with diverse backgrounds and shared interest in the chosen startup idea.

You can. Prior to the Startup Challenge we will organize an online idea generation workshop to help you prepare for the event. However, please note that at the selection of applicants we will take pitch ideas into consideration.

One or two laptop per team is ideal so if you have a laptop, please bring it with yourself, also you can bring paper and pens, but we will provide them as well.

As for food, lunch will be provided for all competetitors on Saturday and Sunday, but apart from that everyone should bring food/drinks for themselves.

Sure! The Sunday afternoon program (with the pitches) is open for everyone, just please note, that participants have to register here.

If you have further questions please send an email to the organizers:


Last minute application deadline due to a few opening spots:

22nd of March, 23:59

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[The official language of the Startup Challenge is English. It is important to have a good knowledge of English (at least a strong intermediate level) if you would like to participate.]

[On Friday you can pitch your idea and recruit team members. You are encouraged to bring a business idea, however, it is not obligatory. You can also join someone else’s team.]

[Though it is not obligatory to share your idea, it might worth it because this will be taken into consideration when selecting applicants.]

[Friday 16:00-max23:00 @Engame Academy, Saturday 8:00-max23:00 @Engame Academy, Sunday: 8:00-20:00 @CEU]