The University of South Carolina’s Entrepreneurial Challenge

The Proving Ground is the University of South Carolina's entrepreneurial competition to identify and accelerate innovative business concepts. We're looking for ideas that will change the world, and change the way people live. Teams of USC undergraduate students, graduate students and recent alumni are eligible to compete for more than $50,000 in seed money, and for the chance to turn their ideas into reality. Help us find the "next big thing" by being a part of The Proving Ground! The competition is a proving ground for everything from new technologies discovered in the lab to business ideas brainstormed on the back of a napkin. The Proving Ground has been the starting point for aspiring entrepreneurs as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. For instance, visit Tux on Trux, the mobile rental service whose founding partners won the 2014 Fan Favorite track. Or kick the bucket with Brevino,the table top bottle cooler that takes the mess out of sharing a bottle of wine. Brevino was the 2015 Avenir Discovery track winner.

Culminating on on March 28, 2019, finalists will pitch their concepts to a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs in a Shark Tank like event for the chance to win up to $17,500 in cash in one of three tracks: the Maxient Innovation Award, the Avenir Discovery Award or the SCRA/Fluor Fan Favorite track. If you don't enter -- and if you are eligble you should -- or if you do enter and don't quite make the finals -- make sure to join us at 6:00 p.m. on March 28, 2019 in the W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall in the Darla Moore School of Business for all the fun. It will be electric as the finalists in each track square off and present their ideas for what they believe will be "The Next Big Thing." And while the judges deliberate to decide the winner in the Avenir and Maxient tracks, the live audience will get to vote for the fan favorite, and see the results right in front of their eyes. And there will be prizes for the audience -- tshirts, koozies, hats -- based on who can answer trivia questions about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.