Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs 2023

Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA)

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is the premier global competition for student entrepreneurs who actively run a business. EO GSEA is an exclusive opportunity for student entrepreneurs to make connections, find resources, and grow their businesses!

About the Program

If you are crazy enough to run a business between classes, then the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards is the competition for you. The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards competition is for undergraduate students (pursuing a bachelor’s degree). The competition is first run geographically then globally. Find a region close to you and then apply.

Eligibility Criteria 

For the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must be enrolled for the current academic year in a university/college as an undergraduate or graduate* student at the time of application. Full-time enrollment is not required; part-time enrollment is acceptable.
  2. You must be the owner, founder or controlling shareholder of your company and principally responsible for its operation. Each company can be represented by only one owner/co-founder.
  3. Your business must have been in operation for at least six consecutive months prior to the application.
  4. Your business must have generated US $500 or received US $1000 in investments at the time of application.
  5. You should not have been one of the top seven finalists from any previous year’s GSEA Global Finals Competition.
  6. The age cap for participation is 30 years of age.

Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

Graduate students are eligible to apply for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards only if they have continually enrolled in a university following their undergraduate degree and not left school to work on their business or to seek other employment. Exceptions can be made for students who have taken up to 12 months’ break before beginning their postgraduate education.

Selection Criteria

For the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards students are scored by a panel of judges and receive numeric scores on the following criteria:

Part 1: Evaluate the Entrepreneur

  1. Does the student demonstrate the tenacious spirit needed to succeed as an entrepreneur? Has he/she encountered challenges, overcome them, and learned from mistakes?
  2. Is the student effectively integrating the two roles of life – as a student AND a business owner?
  3. EO Core Value #1 – Boldly Go – Is the student taking smart risks and evolving to meet changing circumstances?
  4. EO Core Value #2 – Thirst for Learning – Is the student seeking out expert advice and wisdom, and proactively growing their own knowledge? Are they naturally curious?
  5. EO Core Value #3 – Make a Mark – Is the student innovating, planning for the future and distinguishing him/herself from the field? Is he/she taking a long view rather than just quick wins?
  6. EO Core Value #4 – Trust and Respect – Has the student demonstrated an appropriate degree of trust and respect in his/her interactions with the judges? Is he/she showing their true self, demonstrating vulnerability and openness? Would you find him/her trustworthy?
  7. EO Core Value #5 – Cool – Does the student have a unique personal identity that he/she brings to the business? Is the business in alignment with his/her identity and values? Do they come across as confident and genuine?

Part 2: Evaluate the Business

  1. Has the student demonstrated a knowledge of strong business fundamentals and shown that they are in practice in the business? Has he/she provided information relating to the growth, revenue and profit of the business?
  2. Has the student effectively communicated the business and its vision?
  3. Does the business show strong potential for future growth?


  1. YALI RLC West Africa Emerging Leaders Program 2022
  2. United Nations Internship Programme for African Students 2022
  3. Commonwealth Young Professional Programme – Multiple Positions

Benefits and Value of Awards: 

Prizes for the Global Entrepreneur student awards are generally a combination of cash and business services, and will vary by location.

  • Access to successful entrepreneurs. Feedback. Mentorship.
  • Students will represent their business and country on a worldwide stage in Toronto, Canada
  • Refined elevator pitches. Going head to head with other business owners and answering tough questions about their business to our judges helps competitors improve their pitch skills and enhance their ability to communicate the value proposition of their business.
  • Additional awards are given at the Global Finals for Social Impact, Innovation, and Lessons from the Edge.
  • At the Global Finals, students compete for a prize package of US$20,000 in cash and a total value of over $40,000, which includes a travel/lodging expense paid trip to compete in GSEA Finals in Toronto, Canada. Second place will receive US$10,000 and third place will receive US$5,000.Additional awards are given at the Global Finals for Social Impact, Innovation, and Lessons from the Edge.

Application Timeline: 

Deadlines vary according to Regions. Pitch dates for competitions in Africa are listed below:

  • Kenya – 20th Jan 2023
  • Nigeria – 28th Feb 2023
  • Tanzania – 28th Feb 2023
  • Zambia – 28th Feb 2023
  • South Africa – 28th Feb 2023
  • GSEA Finals: 25-26 May 2023

Application Process 

  • Fill out the online application form
  • If selected to compete, someone from GSEA will contact you to give you further information on the location of the competition and how to prepare.

Apply here

For more information: Global Student Entrepreneur Awards students webpage

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