The Conrad Challenge is designed to empower students from all around world to create collaborative and impactful solutions that promote innovation and entrepreneurship. Entries are open to students between 13 and 18 years who would learn the ropes of entrepreneurship and make friends by applying science, technology as well as innovation to solve problems with a global impact.
The Conrad Challenge was founded by Nancy Conrad, wife of the late astronaut Pete Conrad, who was the third person to walk the moon.
California-based Cupertino High School students Aarush Yadav, 14, and Arihan Yadav, 17, were in one such finalist team during the its 2021-22 edition for a Universal Messaging app that enables speech, vision, and hearing impaired people live a full life both in the real world (e.g. video conferencing) and the metaverse. Using the app, people with speech, vision and hearing disabilities can communicate with those who do not understand sign language.
Arihan Yadav and Aarush Yadav were among the finalists chosen from 950 teams. Teams that took part in the second round of the event represented over 2,000 students from 45 countries.
TAKING THE CHALLENGE
*If you’re a student between the ages of 13 and 18, you are eligible to join.
* You must participate as a member of a team of 2-5 students.
* You can form a team with schoolmates, siblings, camp friends, or any other eligible students you know.
* You and your teammates may compete from any corner of the globe.
* If you’ve competed in a previous year, you may compete again as long as you still meet the age criteria and other requirements.
“Taking the challenge gave us a great experience with investing and the business world. It taught us new skills with public speaking and furthered our ability to create practical solutions to modern-day problems,” says Aarush. His elder brother and co-founder, Arihan, lays emphasis on networking opportunities. “Throughout the event, the Conrad community provided networking opportunities with other finalist teams,” he recalls.
The four divisions of the contest are aerospace & aviation, cyber-technology & security, energy & environment, as well as health and nutrition.
The journey this year
The 2022-23 competition comprises these stages: 1. Activation Stage (due October 14, 2022): Assemble a crew of 2-5 students plus a coach and complete the registration. 2. Lean Canvas Stage (due November 11, 2022): Brainstorm ideas, select your innovation & category and prepare a Lean Canvas. 3. Innovation Stage (due January 13, 2023): Write an innovation brief, record an innovation video and creating a website (cyber-technology only). 4. Power Pitch Stage (in April 2023): Teams that make it to the final will be invited to the Innovation Summit to pitch the projects live to the judges. Outstanding teams are named Conrad Innovators and the top teams are named Pete Conrad Scholars.
How it began
The Conrad Foundation honours the legacy of Apollo 12 astronaut Charles ’Pete’ Conrad and his passion for innovation and entrepreneurship. He spent 20 years as a US navy test pilot and Nasa astronaut. In November 1969, he became the third man to walk on the moon.
After years as an aerospace explorer, Pete founded four companies devoted to the commercialisation of space travel. Pete’s pursuits were cut short with his passing in 1999.
Nancy Conrad, Pete’s wife, shared his passion for inspiring future explorers. She wanted to keep Pete’s spirit for innovation and entrepreneurship alive but targeted the next generation of explorers. Sixteen years ago, the former high school teacher launched the Conrad Foundation and the Conrad Challenge.