UMass entrepreneurs to compete in annual Innovation Challenge

Got a business idea? Pitch it.


Courtesy of Isenberg School of Management

ElectroPure, a student team that developed a water treatment/purification device, took first-place honors in the finals of the 2017 Innovation Challenge.

AMHERST — The Minute Pitch competition, the opening event of the Innovation Challenge, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the University of Massachusetts.

Thirty teams of budding UMass entrepreneurs are set to pitch their business ideas and novel projects to a panel of judges at 5 p.m. in the Old Chapel. At the end of the Minute Pitch, the top three teams — as determined by the judges — and the audience choice winner will each earn $2,500.

Established in 2005, the Innovation Challenge is a four-part series of competitions designed to provide opportunities for UMass students and alumni to market their venture ideas and products.

The second event of this year’s series is the Seed Pitch competition. On Nov. 28, teams will form a business model and attempt an elevator pitch that convinces judges their venture will be a success. The panel of judges will distribute $15,000 in seed money to select teams.

The Semifinal, a simulation of the investor boardroom experience, marks the third event on Feb. 27. Teams will present to judges behind closed doors and compete to advance to the final round.

The fourth and final event, appropriately named the Final, will see $65,000 in seed money distributed to the top teams for their business venture.

Only the first and final events are open to the public. The judges for each event are entrepreneurs, legal experts, and consultants invested in mentoring students’ marketable ideas and projects.

Mentors are available throughout the competition and will provide feedback to participating teams. All UMass undergraduate, graduates, and post-doctoral students are encouraged to compete.

The Innovation Challenge is sponsored by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship. The deadlines to apply for the second and third events are on Nov. 14 and Feb. 15 respectively.

Admission is free for the Minute Pitch.

Email Elizabeth at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @MsLizDonoghue.

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