Hosted annually on the JHU Homewood campus (virtually in 2020-2022), HopStart has grown over the last twenty years to draw teams from all divisions of the university. The 2022 competition saw over 150 competitors and 70 teams, all vying for a combined $45,000 in prizes. In addition to business plan development experience and prize money, HopStart also provides competitors with valuable mentorship and networking opportunities with industry leaders. During Stage 1 of the competition, teams are matched with mentors who provide feedback and guidance as teams develop their plans. Many competitors have found this direct mentorship to be a highlight of competing. To learn more about the stages of competition, visit our competition instructions.

The competition showcases the talent of students as they present business plans developed over the course of the year. Students walk away from the competition with:

  • Mentorship and networking opportunities with experienced entrepreneurs, industry leaders, venture capitalists, and alumni.
  • Personalized feedback on pitches, presentations, and business plans.
  • Up to $5,000 in prize money.
  • Thorough understanding of what it takes to commercialize an idea or invention.

HopStart Categories

  • General Ventures: The General Ventures category encompasses commercial enterprises in the form of products, services, or technology outside of the scope of the Medical Technology and Life Sciences and Sustainability categories. These ventures identify an opportunity in the market and develop an innovative approach to fill this need.
  • Medical Technology and Life Sciences Ventures: The Medical Technology and Life Sciences Ventures category includes medical devices, digital health solutions, and pharmaceuticals & biologics. These solutions target an unmet need in healthcare and life sciences, and must be feasible and have a scientifically-sound basis.

See important deadlines for this year’s competition with our complete Hopstart timeline. Learn more about whether you are eligible to compete and how to serve as a judge and mentor.