Awards of up to $10,000 available to student-led media ventures plus the chance to win an additional $30,000 grand prize

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication are proud to co-sponsor the Student Ventures Division of the Next Challenge for Media and Journalism. 

The Next Challenge, launched by Glen Nelson Center at American Public Media Group, is a national competition seeking groundbreaking startups and student-led ventures that will reinvent media over the coming decade. 

The Student Ventures Division supports news and information, civic engagement, and distribution channel media projects created by U.S.-based college and university students.

Applications are open at and will be accepted through Nov. 19.

Over 20 weeks and numerous digital events, the Student Ventures Division will showcase and award grants of up to $10,000 to student-led media ventures based in the United States. Finalists will be paired with mentors from the media industry and have the opportunity to participate in free training provided by Next Challenge partners. Division winners are also eligible for a grand prize of up to $30,000.

Other divisions include News & Information, Civic Engagement, and Distribution Channels — each with the aim of ensuring that organizations are creating accurate news and information, bridging divides and facilitating productive discourse, and revolutionizing the way media is delivered.

To be eligible for the Student Venture Division:

  • Media projects must be led by students currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at a U.S.-based college or university (proof of student status will be required for all finalists).
  • Projects must be intended to launch as a future independent nonprofit or for-profit venture (not an ongoing program of a college or university).
  • Projects should fit the description of one of the three Next Challenge categories (News & Information, Civic Engagement, or Distribution Channels).
  • Teams must have at least two people (point of contact + one team member).
  • Projects must have earned less than $1 million (gross revenue including philanthropic support) in the twelve months ending September 30, 2021. This does not include investment dollars.
  • Student-let projects must have made progress against their concept (e.g., a working prototype, minimum viable product).
  • Student Ventures do not need to be incorporated or have dedicated staff. Prize payments can be made to the lead team members’ commercial bank account or to the relevant college or university.

The Next Challenge is committed to promoting equity in media, embracing the demographic shift occurring in communities across the country and investing in startups with diverse teams. One goal of the competition is that 51% or more of judges, mentors and first-round applicants identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or female.

The Next Challenge will conclude with a national showcase event in February 2022, where more than $100,000 in cash grants and other benefits will be awarded to winning companies.

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