Thank you for your continued interest in the ELEVATE Business Plan competition.  After three successful years and three worthy National Champions (Sokowatch, Disease Diagnostic Group and SwineTech — all of whom continue to be successful including raising money post ELEVATE, our team has discerned a pause in our effort to determine the best way to continue to serve Christian entrepreneurs.  In the mean time, please stay in touch by signing up for our newsletter below as we track the countdown below to the announcement about our ELEVATE 2019 Event.  Blessings!

ELEVATE 2019: A Global Faith-Based Student Business Plan Competition



Our vision is to elevate and mobilize a generation of bright entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders to work for the good of others Genesis 2:15, use God-given gifts Romans 12:6-8, and multiply God’s resources Luke 19:11-27 for His purpose and Kingdom.


Student teams working on for-profit startup ventures can apply to compete against teams across the country. Qualifying will take place online with readers evaluating the applications and then passing their results to a selection team that will then extend interview invitations. From those interviews four teams will be invited to compete live at the National Finals.


The four teams invited (with travel expenses reimbursed) to the National Finals in Silicon Valley, CA will compete for a $50,000 Grand Prize. Half of the prize will come in the form of a cash investment and the other half will come through a startup advisory agreement.


It is FREE to apply to ELEVATE. Applications are due by February 1st, 2017 at ELEVATE2017.startupcompete.co .

Please review the Requirements and Guidelines for ELEVATE 2017 attached below.

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Advisory Council

Caroline Bivens

VP of Finance and USA Operations
Remedy Flies – 2015 ELEVATE South Region Winner

Derek Halvorson

Covenant College

Eugene Noh

Partnerships Lead, CITRIS Foundry
UC Berkeley

Amanda North

Founder and CEO
Artisan Connect

Marlon Evans


Mark Washington

National Director of MBA Ministry
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Vip Patel

Created to Love

Joseph Handley

Asian Access

Michael Martin

Co-Founder and CEO
RapidSOS – ELEVATE 2015 East Region Winner

Matt Bennett

Founder and CEO
Christian Union

Charlena Ortiz

Grit & Virtue

Daryl Heald

Generosity Path

Adam Metcalf

Cofounder and Chief Product Officer

Annie Y. Tsai

Vice President and Professor
Azusa Pacific University

Andrew Clark

Cedarworks, Inc.

Ben Patterson

Venture Partner

Nancy Ortberg

Transforming the Bay with Christ

Henry Kaestner

Managing Principal
Sovereign’s Capital

Jimmy Lee

Goodcity Chicago

Steve Saccone

Executive Pastor
Awakening Church

Gary Lindblad

Dean, Crowell School of Business
Biola University

Robert Harp

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Crowell School of Business
Biola University

Caleb Carr

President, The Ideation Foundation
2016 ELEVATE National Finalist

Paul Lee

Norris A. Aldeen Chair and Associate Professor of Business
Wheaton College


The National Finals of ELEVATE will be hosted once again in Silicon Valley, CA.  The event will feature presentations from the four invited teams to a panel of five distinguished judges along with keynote addresses from nationally recognized speakers and a presentation from a local high school team. 

While this year’s event is still in the works, past speakers at ELEVATE included Connie Chan, Partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Andrew Laffoon, Co-Founder and CEO of Mixbook, Holly Liu, Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer or Kabam and Steve Saccone, Executive Pastor of Awakenings Church and author of Protégé.

And among the judges have been Ronnie Lott, angel investor and NFL Hall of Famer, Adam Metcalf, Chief Product Officer of Zeemee, George Arabian, Managing Partner of Steelhead Ventures and David Lane, Managing Partner of Diamondhead Ventures.

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Timeline for ELEVATE 2017

  • November 1st, 2016 Application Open
  • February 1st, 2017 Application Deadline
  • February 2nd-28th, 2017 Online Judging and Selection Review
  • March 31st, 2017 Global Finals in Silicon Valley
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Frequently Asked Questions

How did ELEVATE Start?
ELEVATE was founded as a collaborative effort among Christian colleges and universities and Telos Ventures (a global Gospel-centered community-based venture accelerator and fund) in partnership with various ministries and Christian-lead businesses endorsed by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.  The inaugural winner was Reliefwatch from the University of Chicago.
What are the primary criteria for applying?

First and foremost ELEVATE is a faith-based competition so we are seeking early-stage startups with founders who lead by following Jesus.  Secondly, this competition is designed to elevate entrepreneurial excellence among this next generation of leaders in faith and work, so it’s for students.  And finally, we are looking for scalable for-profit startups that want to serve the world.

How can I partner with ELEVATE?
ELEVATE is a 100% donor supported and volunteer lead and run initiative so there are many ways to work with us.  Primarily we covet your prayers. You can also help review business plans, judge presentations, as well as work with us on or attend the event.  Also, we are always seeking donors to support us and organizational partners to help us get the word out.  Please contact us if interested.

Where will this year’s Global finals take place?

The Global Finals of ELEVATE 2017 will once again be hosted in Silicon Valley, CA.  The four national finalists will be invited to present live to a panel of five distinguished judges. There will also be keynote addresses from nationally recognized speakers and opportunities to network with leaders in ministry, community and work.

Sponsors and Partners

ELEVATE is a nonprofit initiative and we count on our generous donors and partners to make this event happen.  We invite support at any level but are specifically seeking at least five Cornerstone donors to commit for the next five years at the $5000 (for individuals) or $10,000 (for organizations) level or more per year to be the financial foundation on which ELEVATE will continue to be built. Please contact us for more information on how to give towards God’s work in faith and entrepreneurship.

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