Gustie Entrepreneur CupStudent Entrepreneurship Competition

The Gustie Entrepreneur Cup brings together student entrepreneurs in an innovative and collaborative pitch competition that showcases the creative entrepreneurial spirit that Gustavus students bring to their startup endeavors. Throughout the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup, we engage with faculty, coaches, and alumni mentors, to support students in developing their ideas into feasible, scalable and sustainable business models. Students then present to a panel of mentors for the opportunity to win a share of up to $15,000 in seed funding.

The first-place winner will automatically advance to the semi-finals of the Minnesota Cup. and be eligible to win additional prize funding. 


The Gustie Entrepreneur Cup is not your traditional pitch competition, it is based on the development of an innovative idea and the ability to create a business around that idea. For the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup, students identify real problems and opportunities, find realistic solutions, use real data, and integrate important research to develop a business model. 

How it Works

Here at Gustavus, we find that great ideas are usually created by trial, error, collaboration, and working in an innovative space that supports ongoing learning and development in a community of entrepreneurial peers and mentors. This year, the Entrepreneurial Innovation Center will create open, innovative, and welcoming spaces where all students belong and can contribute their ideas, talents, and innovative thinking to addressing complex challenges our world is facing through their entrepreneurial endeavors. 

The Entrepreneurial Innovation Center is offering two unique program opportunities to help broaden and deepen our engagement on campus. We do this by focusing on increasing access and equity to all students, and invite students to develop their entrepreneurial mindset before applying to this year’s competition.
RSVP for both Startup Lab and Pitch Nights are required, you can RSVP for this program series here

  • Startup Lab: This is a space for entrepreneurial exploration. The lab is a confidential learning space where you can explore your ideas and business plan, assess your likelihood of success, and determine if entrepreneurship is right for you. Learn, explore, get clarity and connect with peers to get the feedback and support you need. If you choose to move forward with your idea, you’ll have an opportunity to pitch it at the 7th Annual Gustie Entrepreneur Cup on May 13, 2023 and get connected to the business support resources to take your plan from the lab into reality. 

This program is offered twice per month in February, March and April and it works as a “prerequisite” to applying to this year’s Gustie Entrepreneur Cup. 

  • Pitch Night: This is a space for entrepreneurial sharing, learning and feedback. The Pitch Night experience is designed for you to share your idea and business to a supportive audience of peers to help provide you the feedback and critique for making your pitch more potent and effective. Share, learn and grow with peers to develop your pitch into something that engages and invites partners, collaborators and potential investors to support you in getting your idea off the ground. If you plan to participate and apply for the 7th Annual Gustie Entrepreneur Cup on May 13, 2023, you will want to be sure to give yourself the time to practice your pitch and get the feedback you need to develop your pitch and bring your idea to the next level. 

This program is offered twice per month in February, March and April and it works as a “prerequisite” to apply to pitch in this year’s Gustie Entrepreneur Cup. Click the link to see the
Gustie Entrepreneur Journey Map that will guide you through the steps to take to prepare for this year's Gustie Cup. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions document to help address any additional questions you may have.

Sign up to participate in both of these programs as many times as you would like, bring a friend, form a team, and launch your idea through our Gustie Cup competition. Take the next few months to collaborate, ideate and iterate, this will help to develop and strengthen your idea so it can reach its full potential by the Gustie Cup on May 13, 2023. Working as a team typically brings more creativity than working alone.

Awards will be made for both: 

  1. “Scalable Category”: This is for innovative ideas that are scalable to larger and broader markets 
  2. “Sustainable Category”: This is for community-based business ideas which could provide a student a livelihood after graduation. 

You can win prize money for developing either a for-profit venture or a social entrepreneurial endeavor. What is most important in the competition is concept feasibility, the incorporation of an innovative idea, the quality of planning, and of course, the ability to put together a team that can execute the plan.