The Caruso Challenge is a college accredited entrepreneurship program that teaches students how to identify and solve real problems. The project-based curriculum gives students the opportunity to work with mentors, entrepreneurs, and UIF staff to grow their entrepreneurial mindset and increase their social capital.


Caruso Challenge in Action

Students from the Franklin Institute STEM Scholars program learned about problem solving when they took part in the Caruso Challenge. They tackled several important social and environmental issues while growing their entrepreneurial mindset.

See for yourself!

Curriculum for Educators

The Foundation provides a professional development plan for educators to teach the Caruso Challenge. Alternatively, our mentors can lead a Challenge at your school. The Caruso Challenge is currently offered in various high schools across the Greater Philadelphia region. Find out how your school can become a Caruso Challenge partner.

Curriculum for Students

Earn college credit outsdie of school. Learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and think outside the box while exploring social and business problems. Sign up for the Virtual Caruso Challenge and gain credits, skills, and social capital at your own pace

Virtual Caruso Challenge

The Virtual Caruso Challenge is your chance to learn from top startups and entrepreneurs in the community while expanding your entrepreneurial knowledge. Using tools developed by UIF staff and mentors, you will identify a problem and solve it using “entrepreneurial mindset” concepts taught over 16 virtual sessions. Through the Virtual Caruso Challenge, you will have the opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and develop entrepreneurial mindset skills that are useful for personal and professional endeavors.

Students that complete the Virtual Caruso Challenge and pass the exit exam are eligible to receive 3 college credits at select partner colleges and universities in eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey. 


Upcoming Caruso Challenges

The Caruso Challenge takes place every 6 weeks. Scroll through to find out when the next challenge takes place and how you can participate. Remember, the Virtual Challenge is open to all student and adult learners.

Virtual Caruso Challenge

July 11- August 31, 2022

Deadline to apply is July 6, 2022

Virtual Caruso Challenge

September 15 – November 15, 2022

Deadline to apply is September 7, 2022

The numbers

At UIF we love to keep track of everything we do, so it’s only fair we share some of the good we are doing within our community. Since 2019, the Caruso Challenge has helped dozens of students earn scholarships and career opportunities. Check out our latest statistics.

Students who completed the Caruso Challenge increased their:

  • social capital by 95%
  • entrepreneurial confidence by 95%

students completed caruso challenge since 2021

partner universities that accredit the challenge

students who continue to work on entrepreneurial projects

The Team

Meet the team of mentors behind the Caruso Challenge

Ben Pietrzyk

Ben Pietrzyk

Director, Caruso Challenge

Ben helped launch UIF’s Caruso Challenge. He believes in teaching entrepreneurship and echoes Dr. Caruso’s philosophy of “thinking like an entrepreneur.” Ben holds a Bachelor of Arts from La Salle University in Sociology and Criminal Justice and a Master’s of Education Entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sean Hackman

Sean Hackman

Coordinator, Caruso Challenge

Sean enjoys facilitating the Caruso Challenge workshops to students in the Philadelphia area and beyond. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and delivers workshops to students and teachers focused on emerging technology.