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. 

You're Invited

We invite you to attend the inaugural TECh competition on April 8, 2021 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. PST. Join us and watch our resilient innovators shine!


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

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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 students. You can submit your technology innovation idea individually or as a team.

Finalist Eligibility
A maximum six (6) 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 Torero Entrepreneurship (TECh) competition on April 8, 2021, you can present your venture to esteemed industry professionals 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 that your technology-based product or service provides, and why you believe it is unique. 
  2. If accepted, you can attend workshops led by seasoned Etrack mentors to help you construct a 10-slide Investor Presentation (Powerpoint or Prezi) and a six-minute video. 
  3. Selected applicants may choose to submit their pitch decks by March 2, 2021 for the Starpoint Accelerator — a feeder competition leading up to TECh. Participation is not a prerequisite to participate in the TECh competition, but is highly encouraged.
  4. Starpoint winners will receive award money and coaching to help move to a polished Investor Presentation, including a six-minute video. All teams, regardless of their participation in the Starpoint Accelerator, must submit their TECh pitch deck and video by March 26, 2021.
  5. Finalists will be announced on April 1, 2021. Those finalists, up to a maximum of six teams, have the option to submit their final pitch decks and videos for TECh on April 5, 2021.
  6. You will present your Investor Presentation video to a team of esteemed judges, followed by four minutes of Q&A, on April 8, 2021 for the first annual Torero Entrepreneurship Challenge (TECh) awards.

Submit Your Application and Pitch:

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

Starpoint Accelerator pitch deck due March 2, 2021: SUBMIT PITCH DECK

TECh pitch deck and video due by March 26, 2021: SUBMIT PITCH DECK & VIDEO

Judging Criteria Categories

Student teams pitch their business venture ideas to a distinguished panel of industry professionals and 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

For TECh judging rubric, CLICK HERE

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 Pitch Deck Due
  • March 4: Starpoint Accelerator Award Event
  • March 11 - 26: TECh Student Pitch Deck and Video Production Weeks
  • March 26: TECh Pitch Deck and Video Submission Deadline
  • April 1: TECh 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 takes place on March 4, 2021 from 12:15 - 2:00 p.m. PST and is funded through the Starpoint Award. This event serves as a feeder competition to boost selected projects and their entrepreneurs towards a more professional pitch before the big TECh event. USD teams who submit their applications by March 2, 2021 are eligible to compete for up to $3,000 each to help accelerate their plan and investor presentation development. Participation is not a prerequisite to participate in the TECh competition, but is highly encouraged. All submission requirements for the Starpoint Accelerator competition mirror those of the TECh competition. Submit your pitch for the Starpoint Accelerator by March 2, 2021.

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.