Sustainable Innovation Competition 

Sponsored by the HP Foundation 

Over the past six years, NACCE has partnered with the HP Foundation on HP LIFE to help community college students across the US learn core business and entrepreneurship skills including design thinking, marketing, finance, and more. It is with these skills that students are able to create their own jobs or spur innovation as employees in other firms.

We are please to announce that this year our collaboration has expanded to include a social entrepreneurship competition...introducing the Sustainable Innovation Competition! 

 (Insert new logo - HP/NACCE logo placeholder below)


This competition will be for NACCE members only and will engage both NACCE member HP LIFE users AND their respective students/clients. The overarching goal of this competition is for students to work on solutions to local challenges that relate to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal #4: Quality Education. This competition provides high quality learning content on HP LIFE, professional development for NACCE members and their students, dedicated coaching and mentorship, the opportunity to win prize money and a trip to California!



Benefits of Participating:

  • All participating schools will be recognized here as HP LIFE/NACCE Ambassadors, in NACCE's journal Community College Entrepreneurship and on social media.
  • All participating schools will receive equipment donations from the HP Foundation. (NEED DETAILS FROM MICHELE.)
  • The top five teams chosen will be awarded full conference scholarships (1 scholarship for the NACCE member advisor and 1 scholarship for the student team lead for a total of two scholarships per school) to NACCE 2019 Entrepreneurship Explorations in Newport Beach, CA from October 13-16, 2019.
  • The top five teams chosen will be given $1,000 travel stipends for 1 NACCE member advisor and 1 student team lead for a total of $2,000 per school.
  • The top five teams chosen will have the opportunity to exhibit in the NACCE marketplace at NACCE 2019, as well as pitch on the mainstage. 
  • The top two teams will be awarded prize money to further their business ideas ($1,000 to 1st place and $500 to 2nd place), as well as further training, resources and education from their respective schools. 


  • Your school must be a NACCE member to compete.
  • Student teams must have 2-4 student participants, one being the team lead, and a NACCE member advisor. We recommend that faculty run this competition with their entire classrooms, splitting up the class in teams of 2-4.
  • Participants (both NACCE members and their students) must create HP LIFE accounts at and students must complete at least 2 of the following courses: Design Thinking, Starting a Small Business, Basics of Finance and/or Finding Funding. (Please make sure each team member has an account and completes the selected courses.)
  • Participants must submit their certificates of achievement (PDF version) for the above courses in the application form. The student team lead should submit the application on behalf of their entire team, uploading all team member’s PDFs.
  • Participants must submit their business plan using the "My Plan" feature on HP LIFE in the application form (PDF version). The student team lead should submit the application on behalf of their entire team, uploading just one business plan per team.
  • Participants must submit a high-resolution team photo. The student team lead should submit this.
  • NACCE member schools must commit to further training, resources and education for competing students.
  • The top five chosen teams must attend NACCE 2019 (both NACCE member advisors and student team leads) in Newport Beach, CA from October 13-16. 

Timeline of Competition:

  • June X - Application Opens - APPLY HERE
  • June X - Informational Webinar about Competition - REGISTER HERE
  • August 30 - Application Closes 
  • September 6 - Top Five Teams are Announced
  • Week of September 9 - Introductory Webinar with Top Five Teams
    • If it is not possible for all team members to join the kick-off session, please make sure that the team lead or at least one representative from your team will attend the session.
  • Week of September 16 - Complete HP LIFE Courses 1 & 2; Work with NACCE member advisor
  • Week of September 23 - Complete HP LIFE Courses 3 & 4; Work with NACCE member advisor
  • Week of September 30 - Complete HP LIFE Courses 5 & 6; Work with NACCE member advisor
  • Week of October 7 - HP LIFE Mentoring Sessions with HP Volunteers 
  • Sunday, October 13 – NACCE member advisor & student teams exhibit at the NACCE 2019 opening evening reception in Newport Beach, CA; NACCE members vote on best pitch
  • Monday, October 14 – Students participate in professional development workshops, pitch to a panel of judges and receive mentoring
  • Tuesday, October 15 - Teams pitch during morning mainstage session to NACCE conference attendees. Attendees vote on top two teams. During the afternoon mainstage session, winners are announced. Professional photos and videos take place.