Participate in the UA 10k Innovation Challenge!

Presented by The EX[L] Center, University of Akron Research Foundation, SEED Legal Clinic, and the Fitzgerald Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

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Do you have an idea for a business or nonprofit? Participate in The University of Akron’s $10,000 Innovation Challenge. A top prize of $10,000 will be awarded to the winner, with additional prizes awarded to runners-up. The pitch competition, open to all UA students, is focused on promoting entrepreneurship and innovation over the spring semester through mentorship, business development events and pitch practices.


  1. Complete this quick Google Form to register
  2. Complete the FINAL APPLICATION
  3. Email FINAL application to due by 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 6th
  • Note: that as part of your application, you need to meet with a business mentor (listed below) as well as interview ten potential customers to get feedback on your idea.

Final application


Sign up for office hours with mentors using the links below:

Learn more about the mentors »


Requirements to pitch:

What to expect at the semi-finals:

  1. Please arrive in the waiting room five minutes early.
  2. The pitches will be recorded unless you instruct us otherwise, so dress appropriately.
  3. You will not have the ability to showcase a PowerPoint (you will if you make it to the final round).
    • If you have a demo of your product, you can hold that up for us to see.
  4. You will be given five minutes to describe your business/nonprofit/enterprise.
    • What you should address is described below.
  5. After the five minutes, the judges will have four minutes to ask you questions.

What you should cover in your presentation:

  1. The problem you are addressing
    • Why is it significant?
  2. How you solve the problem
    • Why does your solution work?
    • What makes your solution better than other available options?
  3. Who is on your team?
    • What gives them unique insight or ability to work on the project?
    • Who is in your network (community partners, mentors, etc.)
  4. What makes this project sustainable or scalable?
  5. What do the populations you will be serving think and feel about your solution?
  6. How do you plan to use the prize money?

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS — All events will be held virtually

  • Thursday Feb 25 | Informational session
  • Friday, Mar 5 | Virtual office hours - discuss your idea
  • Thursday, Mar 11 | Customer Discovery
  • Tuesday, March 23 | Legal Issues for Innovations and Nonprofits, SEED Legal Clinic
  • Monday, April 5 | 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    Practice Your Pitch - Click here to join the meeting

  • Tuesday, Apr 6 | Final application due

  • Thursday and Friday April 8 and 9| Semi-final competition

  • Thursday, April 22 | Final competition

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