UMass Amherst $50K Innovation Challenge Will be Held on Campus Thursday, April 22

AMHERST, Mass. – Up to $50,000 in prize money supplied by private donors is available to award in the 2010 University of Massachusetts Amherst Innovation Challenge on Thursday, April 22 at the Campus Center.

Student innovators and entrepreneurs will make investor presentations from 3:30 to approximately 5:30 p.m. that day. Judges must decide which team has the best entrepreneurial plan for taking a new idea to market. The winning team or teams will be announced at about 6:45 p.m.

While the judges are deliberating from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m., MassChallenge, the Massachusetts-based global startup competition designed to foster collaboration and help entrepreneurs launch new businesses throughout the state, will be hosting its first Western Massachusetts information session. The five finalist teams are:

Aha! Productions combine cognitive psychology with computer science to enhance innovation in students, engineers, and designers with its software product, Innovation Assistant.

internOwl is an Internet site which connects students to better internships through its web-based platform of reviews and postings.

Localocracy is an Internet platform for improving efficiency and openness of representative government by enhancing and encouraging community involvement.

Precision Slip offers a novel coating technology that can decrease fuel consumption or enhance speed of ships.

Stuff Tracker combines RFID technology, hand-held devices, and Internet-based software to track easily misplaced and high-value items.

Since 2005, the UMass Amherst Innovation Challenge has provided more than $280,000 in awards to 32 different student-led teams. It is designed to help current students and young alumni who have innovative business ideas to develop business plans and move products closer to market. The UMass Amherst Innovation Challenge is supported by Eugene M. and Ronnie Isenberg and the following sponsors: Wolf Greenfield, Saint-Gobain, Joseph Bohan, Paul Carney ’82, Forge Partners, Eric Janszen ’04, Scott Perry ’82, Raytheon, Bart Stuck & Mary-Jane Cross ’66, VISTAGY, Stephen Dunne ’89, Wayne Boulais ’85, ’88, Tom Gray ’87, Michael Tunstall ’82, and Karen Lauter Utgoff Consulting.