Applications Now Open for 2023 PETE Prize for Entrepreneurs

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, is now accepting applications for its 2023 prize through March 27. The PETE Prize includes a $30,000 cash prize and recognizes excellence in the development of fresh, creative ideas that are translated into business plans leveraging innovative, design-oriented thinking.

The winning team will also receive office space and marketing, legal, financial, creative, and operational guidance on how to build and launch an innovative company.

Last year’s winner, chosen from among 40 applicants, was Haley Schwartz, Fashion Design AAS ’22, who is making fashion-forward adaptive wear with her company, Vertige. Find out more about Schwartz in the video above or on Vimeo.

The PETE Prize is inspired by Peter G. Scotese, chairman emeritus of the FIT Board of Trustees and a pioneering entrepreneur. Funding is provided by Edwin Goodman, former chair of the FIT Board of Trustees and a partner of Activate Venture Partners, an investment firm with a mission 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.

Students may apply independently or as part of a team of up to two people who meet the eligibility requirements, with the monetary prize to be awarded to the winner’s business entity. Students must complete a written application introducing themselves and their business idea, and addressing what makes them a great PETE Prize candidate. Find instructions on the DTech website.

The winner will be announced in June 2023 and celebrated at the PETE Prize for Entrepreneurs award ceremony in fall 2023. 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.

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 March 27.

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