CEO to host 39th Global Conference in Chicago, Oct. 28-30

CHICAGO — Nearly 700 student entrepreneurs, and their faculty advisors, will be in downtown Chicago next week for the 39th annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Global Conference and Pitch Competition.

The conference will be held Oct. 28-30, 2022, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago River Walk. Attendees will network with other entrepreneurial-minded students, listen to presentations from seasoned entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, motivational speakers and fellow students who seek to be one of the transformative entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Keynote speakers at this year’s conference include: Dylan Gambardella, of Next Gen HQ; Cary Singleton, of Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship; Jason Feifer, of Entrepreneur Magazine; Courtney Gras, of AWS – Startups; David Zasada, of Intuit; Abby Malchow, of; Steven Shaw, of Verizon; and, Rebecca White, author of See, Do, Repeat.

One of the highlights of the conference is the $20,000 Global Pitch Competition. For the past few weeks, 100 student-entrepreneurs have been hard at work building their business profiles on the platform PitchPages. Twenty of the top 100 students will pitch live. These student-entrepreneurs will have five minutes to pitch their startup business ideas to a panel of judges, for a chance to win part of $20,000 in prize money. Members of the general public can view pitch competition submissions here: Qualified investors are invited to attend the conference as spectators of the pitch competition.

A few of the Top 25 finalists include:

  • March, an inclusive toiletry line for hotels and resorts that has an emphasis on providing shampoos and conditioners that suits Black hair. 
  • Resense, creates a Memory Box toolkit that increases brain health, exercises the senses and elicits long-term memories for those living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 
  • TuneHatch, a web-based platform that uses predictive analytics to maximize fan turout at concerts, helping artists and venues book more profitable shows. 
  • Kwizera Coffee, a revolutionary coffee supply chain that is vertically integrated which creates larger opportunities for the farming communities. 

Coinciding with the Global Pitch Competition there will be two other competitions at the conference. These two competitions offer the chance to showcase and develop student entrepreneurs’ skills with a chance to win cash prizes: 

  • Marketplace Simulation Challenge: Students attending the CEO Global Conference and Pitch Competition will have the chance to compete in teams against one another for cash prizes. This is a half-day, fast-paced competition where teams compete within a simulated business ecosystem to start and manage their own businesses.
  • $10,000 Venture Valley E-Sports Tournament: Participants will play a match of the Venture Valley Game, picking one business and gaining the highest revenue within the five-minute match. The winner of the match will win a $10,000 cash prize! All scores will be tallied on a leaderboard throughout the conference, and the winners will be announced on Oct. 30.

In an effort to create a more inclusive conference and to ensure that Black, indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) college students face no financial barriers in attending the conference, the Verizon Foundation has sponsored a Black, Indigenous and People of Color Scholarship. This scholarship will cover the full registration cost of the conference for 25 BIPOC students.

The event will also honor the co-founder of CEO, Dr. Gerald Hills on his Retirement and a Legacy Video, created in his honor will be debuted. 

The conference also features a university awards program where CEO will recognize the top chapters in the CEO network. The awards will include Outstanding CEO Chapter Leader, Global Chapter of the Year and many more.

The 2022 conference is sponsored by The University of Tampa,, Amazon Web Service (AWS), The Singleton Foundation, The John E. Hughes Foundation, The Coleman Foundation, The Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, Marketplace Simulations, Startup Wars and Verizon.

According to Giles Hertz, President of CEO, the annual conference will generate an economic impact of more than $600,000 for the Chicago region and showcase Chicago as a startup region of choice for future founders. For more information, contact Dean Mesick at

The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), based in The University of Tampa’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, a part of Sykes College of Business, is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to “inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and to seek opportunity through enterprise creation.” From its inception in 1984, the organization has grown to approximately 16,500 members, representing nearly 250 college- and university-based chapters.