The NDSU Innovation Challenge is entering its final stages, as students with innovative ideas continue to compete for a total of $20,000 in cash prizes. On January 27, this Tuesday, the 27 semifinalist teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges and to anyone else interested in attending, to compete for a People’s Choice award of $1,000 and a chance to move on to the final rounds.

Innovation CHallenge

Chuck Hoge speaks to Innovation Challenge participants.

Chuck Hoge, Interim Executive Director for the NDSU Research & Technology Park, said they highly encourage local entrepreneurs and startups to attend this event.

“Our goal is to do more to encourage the local business to get more involved with students and to provide networking opportunities for the students and for the attendees,” he said. “We would especially like to have the local start up community come to encourage the students to explore their ideas, and encourage them to start a company.”

innovation Challenge

Students work on their projects at an Innovation Challenge event.

The result is mutually beneficial, he said; local entrepreneurs may find students they want to hire, or even see an idea that they might wish to pursue alongside these students.

The Innovation Challenge kicked off with the Innovation Pitch, held last October, where 62 teams submitted ideas ranging from a PB&J food truck to a cloud-watching mobile app (read the full story here).

Of those teams, 32 followed through with a written proposal to be judged in November, which then resulted in 27 semifinalist teams. Each of the teams fall under one of the three categories for the Innovation ChallengeChallenge: 6 teams in the corn track, 10 in the service track, and 11 in the product track.

Some of the team names are intriguing enough to want to know more; names like “The Clothes Hanger: Reinvented,” “Protein per Dollar,” “A Displaced Farmer,” and “Color with Corn.”

This Tuesday at 5 p.m., each of the teams will have an informative table in the Memorial Union with a poster, slideshow, video, prototype or whatever else they choose to use to present their idea.

They will also give visual presentations to the judge for their competitive track, which guests are invited to watch and vote for their favorite. The team that gets the most votes wins “People’s Choice” award and will be awarded $1,000 that night at the awards ceremony.

The winning teams from the night will advance on to the final stage, the Oral presentations, which will be held on February 26, 2015.

If you wish to attend and support these students, here’s the tentative schedule:

12:00-1:00 p.m. Public Viewing of Team Projects/People’s Choice Voting

1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Team Evaluations (closed to the public)

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Public Viewing of Team Projects & Networking/People’s Choice Voting

Posted in

Marisa Jackels