Competition - Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

Submitted applications confirm the eligibility of the team members, advisor(s), and technology; the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship reserves the right to disqualify any team at any time for not meeting our terms and conditions.

Each team must meet and agree to the following eligibility requirements to compete in any stage of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy & the Innovation Challenge:


  1. At least one team member must be an active UMass Amherst student (any level) or a recent UMass Amherst alumnus (graduate of the last decade). This team member must also hold a significant position on the team, i.e., a C-Suite level position; a UMass student intern working for a startup may not apply to compete on behalf of the startup. 

  2. Student entrepreneurs may compete as solopreneurs (teams of one person) or with multiple team members. 

  3. Team members are restricted to participation in a single team.

  4. At least one team member must complete all application requirements, including but not limited to office hours, attending required pitch camps, and responding to all communication from the Berthiaume team. 

  5. Startups who previously competed in the I&E Academy and Innovation Challenge: The Final and did not win funding are still eligible to compete in any stage of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy and the Innovation Challenge. 

  6. Startups who previously competed in the I&E Academy and  Innovation Challenge: The Final and won funding are not eligible to compete in any Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy Competitions or the Innovation Challenge. 

  7. Secured Capital Arrangements

  8. The amount and source of secured capital arrangements must be identified and disclosed to the Berthiaume Center and included in your application.

  9. Teams with funding over $250,000 from sources outside of their members are not eligible to compete.

  10. If, at any time during the competition, a team receives funding from sources outside of its members that put them over the allowed $250,000, they will be disqualified.

  11. Competing startups that are no-shows to the competition will forfeit their participation in all Berthiaume competitions for the academic year. 

Qualifying Ideas and Ownership of Concept/Technology

  1. All team members must certify that all work submitted via application is ORIGINAL to the team.

  2. The team leader does not need to be the owner of the idea, concept, or technology. Still, the owner(s) must authorize the use and public disclosure of the technology/idea in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy and the  Innovation Challenge.


  1. Startups (at least one team member) must be present for judging and awards or risk forfeiting the prize. 

  2. Funding will be disbursed per University policies and may be subject to state and federal taxes. No other disbursement arrangements will be made. 

  3. All team members must sign the "Prize Agreement Form" before competing.

  4. Winning teams should acknowledge support from the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy and/or Innovation Challenge (just as funding agencies require acknowledgment).

  5. Teams must claim their prize funding within 12 months, or it will be forfeited.


 The Berthiaume Center reserves the right to disqualify any venture that, in its sole discretion, violates the letter or spirit of the competition guidelines and rules.

  • The Berthiaume Center assumes no responsibility to ensure the confidentiality of any information disclosed by competitors during public competitions.

  • All decisions regarding the competition rules, procedures, and processes are at the sole discretion of the Berthiaume Center leadership. The Berthiaume Center leadership may make changes and/or interpretations of these rules at any time, even though they may be (or appear to be) in conflict with previously published information.

  • The selection of the teams to compete and the decision of the winners are at the sole discretion of the judges and the Berthiaume Center leadership.

  • Prize money will be released once the prize distribution form has been finalized, signed by all team members, and returned to the Berthiaume Center. All paperwork must be submitted within the 12-month grace period.