Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most common questions we get about the competition.

What is the purpose of the competition?

EXPOSE high school students around the world to the exciting world of business.

ENGAGE students to conceive, research, develop, and present a novel business concept.

INSPIRE students to create innovative solutions to problems in business and in life.

EMPOWER students to formulate powerful ideas by leveraging Blue Ocean tools.

PREPARE students for the real world of entrepreneurship and global competition.

Do I need to read the Blue Ocean books?

No, but you’re welcome to. We offer a Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneurs Mini-Course that provides an overview of the blue ocean concepts. To stand a chance of winning this competition, you’ll need to be familiar with, and use, some of the blue ocean strategy tools and frameworks such as the Strategy Canvas, Three Tiers of Noncustomers, Buyer Utility Map, and Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid. By reading the books you will have a better understanding of blue ocean strategy and how to apply it to your novel idea. The books are full of inspiring examples as well!

What if I don’t yet have an idea for a pitch or know how to pitch?

No problem. By registering for the competition, you will get access to valuable resources to help you come up with a blue ocean idea. For example, immediately upon registering you will get access to the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneurs Mini-Course that will teach you the fundamentals of blue ocean strategy and how to develop your pitch. You will get a certificate of completion, which will boost your resume.

Should my pitch be technology related?

No. Any idea is a great idea. In fact, technology innovation only counts when linked to buyer value. Read this blog to learn the difference between technology innovation and value innovation.

Can I submit my blue ocean pitch alone or with others as a team?

It is completely up to you. We treat pitches submitted by individuals and teams equally. Each blue ocean pitch will count as one entry only.

How long should the pitch be?

The pitch should be in the 3-5 minute range but not exceed 5 minutes.

Who are the judges?

Our judges are seasoned entrepreneurs and businesspeople from around the world who will evaluate the pitches based on the competition criteria.

Can I submit my pitch and idea to multiple competitions in addition to the Blue Ocean Competition?

Absolutely. We are not competing with any other competition and welcome pitches that have been submitted elsewhere. Note that to stand a chance of winning, you would need to use blue ocean concepts in your pitch so you may need to modify it before submitting it to our competition.

I’m a senior in high school. My college applications will be sent by the November 1st deadline. Can I put the competition on my application, even though I don’t know what my placement in the competition will be in the end?

That’s a great question. Yes, you can definitely put on your resume or application that you are participating in the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneur Competition. One other thing that would be very useful to put on your application is that you completed the official Blue Ocean Mini Course as part of this competition. Blue Ocean Strategy is typically taught at the college level so that gives you another way to stand out from the crowd. Once you complete the course you will receive a valuable certificate of completion which also adds great value to your college applications. The Blue Ocean Competition unlike most other competitions is truly global which impresses college admissions officers. So register for the competition, complete the Blue Ocean Mini-Course, and boost your college applications!

Some of the past winning pitches seem to have required a lot of scientific research or lab time. So how do you go about coming up with a new technology or idea and how do you know if it works?

You don’t have to know if it works in order to submit it. But the closer you can get to it, the better.  So market research is about the need for the product, creating a prototype and asking people about their interest in it. So again, you’ll never know if something works until you produce a product and put it in the market. But we want you to actually think about and what you’re doing is creating the idea. What kinds of things can you do? How far can you take it? The last piece is doing research. So if you have an idea and it doesn’t exist today doing research, and it’s amazing, the amount of research we get back in terms of components of the idea that do exist. And the more that you can share, the more likely it is, the more feasible it is, the higher score will be.

Blue ocean businesses don’t necessarily depend on technology. So you can come up with great ideas that involve no new technology. It is just maybe a newer different business model that you have brought in from another industry, applied it to your industry, and so on. So don’t feel like it has to have some high-tech technology that you do not have. Ideally, this technology was there all the time. All you’re doing is creating something very useful that nobody ever thought of using.

The majority of our submissions are services or apps. And either for-profit or non-profit.

Is it necessary that my product or project exists or can it be invented?

It can be invented, or it could be existing as well, as long as it meets all those criteria. It is some exceptionally new high value for users at some really low cost. So we do not limit to one of the things where we are different from other pitch competitions also is that at times other pitch competitions require that you should have not just the idea, but also a business around it. In this competition, you can actually participate just with that concept and idea as well, as long as you can build a business model around it and show how that business would succeed, whether it is for profit, whether it is nonprofit as long as you can make a good case for it. Your idea doesn’t have to exist before you submit your pitch.

If our product is a physical object, does it have to be a working prototype or just be a mock-up?

No, it is not necessary to have a working prototype but the more forward you go with your ideas and what you can pitch to the judges, the higher the chances of your winning. It’s not necessary for you to have a product that’s already made or a prototype, but if you do it and if you show it in your pitch, that increases your chances of winning.

I registered for the competition with my school email. What can I do to change my email to my private one such as Gmail?

Email us at [email protected] and we will change it on the back end.

Can research for a product just be done on Google?

Yes. That’s where you would start and you’ll know if you need to dig deeper. So yes, definitely whatever you are doing, search Google for it, first of all, to see whether that product already exists or not. So you have to start your research there. And because we want to come up with ideas to solve these problems that have not been solved before, or problems that have not been identified before, or have not been solved in the way that you are solving it or so, so definitely do start your research on Google.

Could I have more than one product in my pitch?

Yes, you can but remember it’s just a five-minute pitch. If you are going to talk about two products, you will not be able to do justice to any of those because you do need to show for this product, who are the competitors, how are you different, etc. We suggest if you want to do two products, submit two separate pitches.

Is there a place on your website to find out which schools participated in this competition before? For example, last year or 2020?

Yes, you can find out the list of participating schools in the past at this link: 

139 of The US News and World Report top 250 schools participated in the Blue Ocean Competition making it truly prestigious. Around 730 schools around the world have participated so far.

Some of the past submissions seem very complicated products in terms of scientific research. Does my idea have to be backed by science?

If it has some new technology? Yes. If not, no. Take for example, Comic Relief. This is a charity where you just ask people to wear those red noses and they have generated billions in charity for that, with no technology whatsoever involved in that. So if your idea is not dependent on technology, you do not need to have that, but if you are proposing a new technology there or some different use of technology what would make your pitch stand out is to provide some proof of how that’s going to happen. So some scientific research or a reference to scientific research would be useful.

Should research be cited at the end of the video, and should there be a citation slide at the end?

If you are using scientific research, it may be a good idea to just put it on that page where you are talking about it, if you are starting from like a slide show and you are talking over it, it could just be on that slide at the bottom. And so the most important finding that’s relevant to you should be up there on this slide. And then at the bottom, there can be a citation for it as well.

What audio recording software is recommended for creating our presentations?

Remember that you’re not being judged on the quality of sound; it just needs to be something we can hear. Most participants are using their computer or their phone to record the audio some with potentially a microphone. But it is very rarely an issue if you use normal filming/recording devices such as your computer or phone.

Will the kid or kids of the judges still be eligible to participate in the competition?

No, there won’t be any kids of the judges participating in the competition, but that’s a great question.