Torero Entrepreneurship Challenge (TECh)

Awarding technology-based business ideas.

Engineered by Etrack, the Torero Entrepreneurship Challenge (TECh) is a new entrepreneurial competition designed to engage, educate, mentor and award technology innovators. With generous gifts from entrepreneurial and technology leaders, USD's Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering now offers two new technology track awards — the Larry Kull Endowed Student Award in Engineering and Entrepreneurship and the Starpoint Award — to reward game-changing projects that embody technological innovation. From the TECh Orientation session through the TECh competition, budding entrepreneurs will be guided down a proven entrepreneurial path to sharpen their venture-building skills — ultimately leading to an opportunity to compete for up to $45,000 in seed money. The 2021 TECh competition will be held virtually on April 8, 2021 from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. PST.

TECh logo with student at 3D printer

Torero Entrepreneurship Challenge Pathway

It starts with your idea. Then, using proven pathways you will be guided by mentors, supported by professional networks and real-world experience. The Etrack team helps you to bring that idea to life. Review the pathway steps and click through the tabs below to find out how you can present your technology-based business idea to industry professionals and real angel investors for a chance to win significant seed money to get your business off the ground.


Create idea and form team with 1-4 members

bar chart

Evaluate market fit and validate tech idea


Develop technology and business solution


Pitch your idea for up to $45,000 in seed money


Project Eligibility
Teams that present business ventures where scientific knowledge or processes lead to a product or service that creates customer value and differentiates the offering from alternatives, including competitive solutions are eligible to participate in the TECh competition.

Team Eligibility
The TECh competition is open to all USD undergraduate students. You can submit your technology innovation idea individually or as a team with up to four (4) members.

Finalist Eligibility
A maximum of 10 teams will be selected from all TECh submissions to move to the semifinals for judging. Of those semifinalists, a maximum of five (5) teams will be selected on April 1, 2021 to move to the finals and compete for a total of $45,000 in seed prize money on April 8, 2021.

Enter the Competition

At USD's annual TECh Competition on April 8, 2021, you can present your venture to industry professionals and real angel investors for a chance to win seed money to start your business. 

Here's how to enter:

  1. Craft a one-page application by Friday, February 12, 2021 that focuses on the customer value proposition your product or service provides, and why you believe it is unique. 
  2. If accepted, you can attend workshops to help you construct a 10-minute business presentation that you and your team will submit by Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
  3. After successfully completing 1) and 2) above, selected candidates from the Starpoint Accelerator will receive money and coaching to help move to a polished investor presentation, including a short video, which will be your final submission on Monday, April 5, 2021.
  4. You will present your investor presentation to a team of judges on Thursday, April 8, 2021 for the TECh awards.

Submit Your Application and Pitch:

TECh one-page application due by February 12, 2021: SUBMIT APPLICATION

TECh pitch deck and video due by March 26, 2021: LINK COMING SOON

Judging Criteria Categories

Student teams pitch their business venture ideas to a distinguished panel of industry professionals and real angel investors. Following are the six categories on which judging will be based:

  1. Technology and Development
  2. Marketing Opportunity and Timing
  3. Business Model
  4. Competitive Advantage and IP
  5. Team Balance and Leadership
  6. Project Fit with TECh

Monetary Awards

Compete for up to $45,000 in Seed Money 
With funding from two awards — the Larry Kull Endowed Student Award in Engineering and Entrepreneurship ($15,000) and the Starpoint Award ($30,000) — finalists at the TECh competition will compete for a total of $45,000 in seed money. Awardings may be distributed to one winning team or between multiple teams, as determined by the distinguished panel of judges on the night of the event. 

TECh 2021 Timeline

  • November 5: TECh Orientation
  • January 19: TECh Orientation II and Workshop
  • January 28: Weekly TECh Prep Sessions Begin
  • February 12: TECh Applications Due
  • March 2: Starpoint Accelerator Applications Due
  • March 4: Starpoint Accelerator Award Event
  • March 11 - 26: Student Pitch Deck and Video Production Weeks
  • March 26: Pitch Deck and Video Submission Deadline
  • April 1: Finalists Announced
  • April 5: TECh Finalist Submissions Due
  • April 8: Torero Entrepreneurship Challenge (TECh) Event

Starpoint Accelerator: $3,000 to Build Momentum

The Starpoint Accelerator competition is funded through the Starpoint Award and serves to boost selected projects and their entrepreneurs towards a more professional investor pitch before the big TECh event on April 8th. Up to five (5) USD teams who submit their applications by March 2, 2021 are eligible to receive $3,000 each to help accelerate your plan and investor presentation development.

USD Competition Events

In addition to Etrack and TECh, USD offers many resources and opportunities throughout the year to fine-tune students' venture-building skills. We challenge students to invent the next big concept at the Fowler Business Concept Challenge or the next big venture at the V2 Pitch Competition. We inspire the next generation of Changemakers at the Center for Peace and Commerce's Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge. And we coach passionate innovators at our Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference. We encourage all aspiring entrepreneurs across campus, regardless of your degree, to bring your innovative ideas to the table and take advantage of the pathways made available to you.

two student talking in room on couch

Startup Resources

Students who are interested in starting a company will be eligible for student internships during the summer between their senior year and super-senior semester. To be eligible for a student internship, the project must have a customer who is willing to test and validate prototype(s) developed in an environment consistent with their field use. Students interested in starting a company will have access to the USD Law Clinic for Incorporation and Provisional Patent filing at no charge as well as access to the services offered by the USD Small Business Development Center.
For questions about Etrack's TECh competition, contact  Etrack's co-faculty leads Venkat Shastri, PhD or Jeff Teza.