About the UMass Innovation Challenge

Welcome to the UMass Innovation Challenge (UMass IC). We award over $65K in prizes each academic year though competitive events that are designed to help and reward UMass students and young alumni from any of the system’s five campuses who want to pursue a novel business idea, develop a technology into a marketable product, or have a new approach to a difficult problem or compelling opportunity.

The goal is for interdisciplinary teams to conceptualize a product with regard to its scientific and technological design, and create a business plan for the product’s commercialization. Competition judges are entrepreneurs, legal experts, and consultants who volunteer their time to meet with students who are interested in marketing their new ideas.

Students from every discipline and stage of career — undergraduates, graduates and post-docs alike — are encouraged to compete!

The Innovation Challenge includes four public competitions and one closed-door session each year. In addition, the IC offers occasional events and outside speakers to encourage and inform all students and faculty interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Fall and Spring MinutePitch events offer participants an easy way to get started and test business ideas without having to develop written plans.
  • The December Executive Summary and Elevator Pitch Competition challenges and rewards participants for taking the first steps toward building their business model and forming their elevator pitch.
  • The March Mini-Plan Competition is a closed-door competition that emulates an investor boardroom experience. Teams pitch their developing ventures to a panel of sponsors for a spot in the Final Business Plan Competition.
  • The Final Business Plan Competition takes place at the end of the academic year. The best of the best compete for as much as $50K. Judges determine winning teams and award amounts.