FIT’s DTech Lab Launches the PETE Prize for Entrepreneurs

logo for the PETE Prize

On Tuesday, March 1, FIT’s DTech Lab launched the PETE Prize for Entrepreneurs, a student award that recognizes excellence in the development of fresh and creative ideas that are translated into business plans leveraging innovative design-oriented thinking—a prize that comes with a $30,000 cash award.

The PETE Prize is inspired by Peter G. Scotese, chairman emeritus of the FIT Board of Trustees, and a pioneering entrepreneur. Initial funding for the prize is provided by Edwin Goodman, a former chair of the FIT Board of Trustees and a partner of Activate Venture Partners, an investment firm whose mission is to develop a new generation of venture capitalists whose aspiration is to leave a lasting impact on industry.

PETE is also an acronym for passionate, empathetic, tenacious, and enthusiastic. These qualities are relevant to the PETE Prize because entrepreneurship is changing and so are the qualities exemplified by successful leaders. PETE exemplifies the core characteristics that have the potential to revolutionize business by challenging norms and putting forth brave new ideas. The PETE Prize is for FIT students who believe they have the power to make the world a better place by being innovative leaders.

The PETE Prize provides excellent learning opportunities for FIT students interested in entrepreneurship. Leading to the grand prize announcement, selected applicants participate in five months of clinics, workshops, and knowledge-sharing by established venture capitalists, industry leaders, and mentors. Additionally, the PETE Prize accommodates student teams, which have the benefit of allowing students to compete with a more robust skill set than one person may possess—though competing as a team of one is also an option.

Students may submit applications via the PETE Prize website at The submission deadline is April 15. The winning PETE Prize team receives a $30,000 cash award in addition to office space and marketing, legal, financial, creative, and operational guidance on how to build and launch an innovative company. All teams are 1 to 3 people, and the monetary prize is awarded to the winning team’s business entity, not individuals.

Applicants must be currently enrolled at FIT as full-time or part-time students and may be majors in any FIT program. This includes undergraduates expecting bachelor’s or associate’s degrees as of spring 2022 and fall 2022, graduate students, and nonmatriculated students, including Center for Continuing and Professional Studies enrollees with 3 to 5 years of professional experience. International students in compliance with governmental requirements and fall 2021 graduates are also eligible to apply.

The grand prize winner will be announced after New York Fashion Week, in September 2022. The award evaluation committee is composed of a mix of investors and industry experts including venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, experienced entrepreneurs, and leaders from the business community.

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