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Horn Entrepreneurship

Where Pressure Makes Diamonds: 2024 Diamond Challenge Summit Recap

Where ideas meet innovation and charisma meets community, 2024 Diamond Challenge Summit. From April 25th to 27th, a conference celebrating entrepreneurial high school students from all around the globe, featured workshops, panel discussions, innovation sprints, and networking opportunities. Over the past few days, we've witnessed a convergence of groundbreaking ideas, disruptive strategies, and valuable insights shared by some of the brightest minds in the entrepreneurial landscape. 

After a year long competition and extensive journey of hard work, Summit was a place for student entrepreneurs to showcase their talent and brilliant minds. In this program students develop solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges for a chance to engage and network with a global community of entrepreneurs and to compete for awards and monetary prizes. There was a whopping number of participants, at 2,652 students and all in 940 teams hailing from 56 countries and 30 states.  Sixty-eight finalist teams participated in the final rounds at the Summit, all 215 students and 120 adult advisors coming from 15 countries and 16 states.

The full list of the 2024 Diamond Challenge Summit finalist teams and team descriptions can be found here. Each team was awarded money to be used as venture funding or scholarship to a higher education institution.

The Final Results and Awards

The winners of the Business Innovation Track included:

  • 1st Place - $12,000: Refil – Canada; USA (Colorado, Massachusetts) –James Xiao, Bill Xu, Alexander Zhang, Wei Li (Adult Advisor) – A low-cost and sustainable technology to efficiently recycle waste 3D printing filaments.
  • 2nd Place - $8,500: OvaVision – USA (New Jersey) – Muhammad El-Sherbiny, Ian Kim, Saketh Maddali, Joseph Gutierrez (Adult Advisor) – An innovative, modular incubation system that windows and sexes eggs to prevent production inefficiencies.
  • 3rd Place - $4,000: PEANUTSCAN – China –Justin Gu, Jason Hsieh, Alex Lu, Yuchi Lu, Tarra Behr (Adult Advisor) – A portable machine that dispel your doubts on the presence of peanuts in food.

The winners of the Social Innovation Track included:

  • 1st Place - $12,000: Exotech – USA (Oregan) –Arush Goswami, Jazveer Kaler, Akash Pai, Eleanor Song, Ashish Pai (Adult Advisor) – A brain-controlled exoskeleton that revolutionizes post-stroke hand rehabilitation.
  • 2nd Place - $8,500: The Better Kitchen Sink – USA (New Jersey) –Shubh Gangrade, Jenny Zhu, Susan Wirsig (Adult Advisor) – A grey water filter for developing countries that is low-cost, utilizing locally sourced sustainable materials.
  • 3rd Place - $4,000: Saathi – United Arab Emirates – Ahana Kotibhaskar, Akshay Kotibhaskar, Pankaj Jha (Adult Advisor) – A socially conscious menstrual hygiene business venture that is committed to fighting period  poverty across the world through sustainable, reusable period panties.

The Topical Prize Awards recognize Diamond Challenge finalist teams that have shown significant promise and excellence in a particular field of entrepreneurial capacity. All Topical Prize Awards are sponsored by innovative companies investing in the next generation, and each award is accompanied by a $1,500 cash prize.

The Delaware Solid Waste Authority Waste & Recycling Innovation Prize is awarded to the teams who develop an advancement in the waste or recycling industry that fosters sustainability within both the community and the environment. 

  • Business Innovation: FarmAble – India –Ishaan Argawal, Vivaan Mathur, Yash Nath, Mahirr Sikka, Sylvester Wellington (Adult Advisor) – Turning concrete walls into sustainable gardens
  • Social Innovation: BioCopi – USA (California) – Aadi Chauhan, Akilan Dorairaj, Aarnav Nagabhirava, Rohit Vakkalagadda, Anitha Vakkalagadda (Adult Advisor) – A chitin-based bioplastic solution to invasive Copi and plastic pollution.

The Gore Innovation Excellence Prize is awarded to the teams who best represent the application of technology to improving lives. 

  • Business Innovation: KEEPsulin – China; Vietnam –Tiffany Lee, Y Nhi Nguyen, Susie Cirone (Adult Advisor) – A portable thermoregulated wrap for insulin preservation
  • Social Innovation: Dristhi – India; USA (Texas) –Aryan Agarwal, Sahya Lagisetty, Kavita Agarwal (Adult Advisor) – An assistive mobility device equipped with AI&ML, for the blind.

The Horn Entrepreneurship Equity Thru Entrepreneurship Prize is awarded to a Social Innovation team with the greatest potential to advance social justice and equal opportunity. The winner of this award is:

  • Outside Connection - USA (Pennsylvania, Texas) - Makenzie Griffith, Sebastian Tan, Donna Roop (Adult Advisor)- A job site for individuals returning from prison.

The Horn Entrepreneurship Global Prize, awarded to outstanding international teams representing the Diamond Challenge’s diversity and the very best in entrepreneurial excellence. The winners of this award were:

  • Business Innovation: NurtureGlow – Philippines; Singapore – Nicole Estacio, Lucas Lee, Chloe Loe, Aniqa Nor, Ee Ling Lim (Adult Advisor) – To help new mothers relieve the struggles of postnatal depression through convenient and accessible devices.
  • Social Innovation: VOTA Panama – Panama – Daniela Balbin, Antonio Dominguez De Obaldia, Allwyn Bryner (Adult Advisor) – A mobile phone application that continuously updates Panamanians about Panamanian elections and politics.

The Summit Experience

The first day started off with the Innovation Tour. This was a chance for students and others to take a tour around campus and Newark to hotspots for entrepreneurship and creativity. The tour featured The Venture Development Center, MakerSpace, Gore Capabilities Center, and lastly The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Alongside the main pitch competition, participants were able to learn new insights and develop new skills from workshops, seminars, and activities. Starting everything off on the first day of Summit, Rich Keller of SCORE: Stand-out Conquer Obstacles Reach Excellence. Rich encouraged students to find their “one word”. The word that defines their brand, core values, and overall identity. 

“Who you are drives what you do,” said Rich Keller.

And to end off the first day, the students were treated to a lively performance from UD’s male acapella group, the YChromes. 

On the next day, two workshops took place for the benefit of all participants and advisors. Kicking things off, Debra Olshen Cooper, the founder of Your Career Design Lab presented her workshop named “Pitching to Win: The Power of Self-Belief.” Through an interactive and soul searching session, Debra was able to extract an authentic story from the audience and instill the value and power of storytelling and self-belief.  Following Debra’s motivational workshop, Director of Innovation at Ursuline Academy, Erin McNichol presented her workshop named “Make Me Believe.” During this session, she also provided more details on the importance of storytelling and how to implement it into your personal lives and business ventures. After a day of pitching, workshops, and networking, students were able to unwind, grab a glow stick, and celebrate all their hard work at the Glow Gala. 

Lastly on day 3, after all the competitive energy dissipated it was time for more seminars panels and workshops for attendees. There was a large variety of sessions for people to sit in and listen on. One workshop, “Lightning Talks: Leveraging Others to Increase Impact '', featured three unique groups navigating their committed to enact change. Those featured were Carolyn He of “A Sustainable Future”, Leonardo Scarpato, Aidan Kelly, Jimmy Bobbit, and Luca Webb of Meal Move, and lastly adult advisor Allwyn Bryner of International School of Panama. Next the ‘Investor Insights' panel discussion was where people could hear directly from experienced Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors in regards to dealing with early stage companies. There were 3 innovation Sprints, DSWA Recycled Materials where students worked with others creatively to develop sustainable innovation ideas, W.L. Gore & Associates Megatrends had teams race against the clock to uncover challenges in relevant areas and come up with solutions while making the most of available resources, and then the Horn Eco-Friendly Packaging Sprint that challenged students to design innovative and eco-friendly packaging solutions for common household products. Then to end this productive block of session, one last workshop called “Creative Conversations: Mastering ChatGPT for Entrepreneurial Success" which opened the discussion about the complex world of AI and how entrepreneurs can use it as a tool for success. Then to finish off this conference experience were the long awaited and anticipated award ceremony. Pride was radiating in this auditorium from students who were honored with awards and others for simply getting to the final stages of Diamond Challenge. The final results can be found above.


Innovation Tour at Gore Capabilities Center.


Innovation Tour at the Venture Development Center.


Rich Keller Workshop.


Debra Olshen Cooper Workshop


Erin McNichol Workshop

YChrome A Capella Group Performance.
Glow Gala
Allwyn Bryner from International School of Panama at the Lightening Talk.
Tome Salgueiro at the Innovation Sprint.
Students Networking.

Each day during the conference, there were keynote speakers who shared genuine stories about their journey finding and defining themselves while also growing professionally. Horn Entrepreneurship and Diamond Challenge extends a special thank you to keynote speakers Lovell Kosh, Co-founder of 3&D Sports Performance who spoke about finding tools for success through networking. Ellie Stang, Founder & Executive Chairwoman of ProgenyHealth LLC who advocated for students to lean into risk and uncertainty to grow. And lastly Sarah Chen-Spellings, Co-founder of Beyond The Billion let everyone understand the best lessons you learn are intertwined in the invisible lines of entrepreneurship. She advised all to continue to do big things, in your dreams and your execution.


Lovell Kosh, Co-Founder of 3&D Sports Performance before the welcome dinner.


Ellie Stang, Founder & Executive Chairwoman of ProgenyHealth LLC during Friday lunch.


Sarah Chen-Spellings, Co-founder of Beyond The Billion at the award ceremony.

Special Thanks

Horn Entrepreneurship appreciates the time given and help from more than hundreds of judges who completed preliminary judgements and provided vital feedback for students from February through April during the Diamond Challenge qualifying rounds. Another special thanks goes to the official Summit judges: Francine Covelli, Cheryl Black, Nikhil Paul, Stacy Grant, Sarah Culler, Jennifer Helle, Jason Hyman, Kirstin Isaac, Dave Liss, Lo Li, Horacio Garcia-Korosec, Mike Parkowski, Scott Powell, Jennifer Rowland, Libby Bernick, Scott Carter, Scott Malfitano, Kyle Morgan, Nick Wilkinson, Mitch Kick, Rich Keller, Carolina Esswein, AJ Jordan, Fred Phillips, Alok Patel, Jennifer Seibert, Conor O’Brien, Leigh Ann Tona. 

Morning Judges

Afternoon Judges

The Diamond Challenge is made possible with the support of our sponsors: DSWA, CSC, W. L. Gore & Associates, CapitalOne, The Siegfried Group, 1435 Capital, and 3&D Sports Performance. The Diamond Challenge is also grateful for the generous support of the Paul & Linda McConnell Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative. And finally thanks to all participants, advisors, partners and finalists for making the Diamond Challenge a memorable experience.

Concluding 2024 Summit

As the curtains close on this spectacular 3-day Summit conference dedicated to high school entrepreneurship, we've witnessed the power of youthful ingenuity, as budding entrepreneurs tackled real-world challenges with creativity, resilience, and unwavering determination. As attendees depart, they carry with them not only the memories of engaging sessions and insightful discussions but also the seeds of innovative ideas planted during this transformative event. Let us continue to nurture these seeds, fostering a generation of forward-thinkers and change-makers who dare to dream and strive to make a difference in the world. Until next year's Diamond Challenge Summit, may the spirit of entrepreneurship continue to flourish, guiding us towards a brighter, more innovative future.

About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.

At its founding in 2012, Horn Entrepreneurship launched a youth initiative to address major gaps in secondary entrepreneurship education. At the time, most existing youth programs focused on small business management. In contrast, Horn Youth has been built to focus on unleashing creativity, encouraging a mindset of abundance and self-determination, and promoting purposeful entrepreneurial action. Today, Horn Youth is internationally recognized and has a robust local and global ecosystem and a network consisting of more than 20,000 alumni, 1800 educators, and 60 organizations that catalyze entrepreneurship education and impact.

Topics: entrepreneurship, awards, events, competition, students, pitching, innovation