• Students: Must be undergraduate students currently enrolled in university courses and in good academic standing.
  • Team Size & Composition: Teams must have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 members, and team members should represent at least 2 different colleges (e.g., IST and Engineering).
  • Original Work: All students participating in the IdeaMakers Challenge warrant that the idea they are presenting is original work. Participating students must attest that they are not in violation of any contract or third party rights including patent, copyright, trade secret, proprietary or confidential information, trademark, publicity or privacy right.
  • Allow Recordings: Participants must complete a release form allowing event organizers to use photographs, videos, and materials presented during the pitch as promotional materials.
  • Entry Fee: There is no entry fee to participate.

Need help finding a team or more team members?  Post your information or look through existing requests on the Team Finder page!



See the IdeaMakers Timeline page for more detailed information about all of the IdeaMakers events.


Judging will take place in 2 rounds:

Round 1 – Semi-Final “Rocket Pitch”:

  • All participating teams will prepare for their rocket pitches by working with an faculty advisor and attending the expert workshop event.
  • Each team will present their rocket pitch (3 minutes, brief Q+A) to a panel of judges.
  • The top 5 teams will be selected by judges based on the judging rubric.

Round 2 – Finals:

  • The top 5 teams will be paired with an experienced mentor to prepare for their final pitch.
  • The teams will do a practice pitch on to prepare for their final pitch, with feedback from experienced mentors
  • Final pitches will include a 5-minute pitch and then a short Q+A with the judges – Due to strict time constraints, teams will be cut off after the designated time.
  • Judges will evaluate student presentations based on the team’s ability to convey the problem/need, proposed solution (including role of IT), and general business model as per the judging rubric.
  • Judges will independently score each team, then collaboratively select the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams.

Recognition Event:

  • The winning teams are invited to the Startup Week Awards Event to be recognized for their participation in the IdeaMakers Challenge, and to mingle with invited entrepreneurs, Penn State faculty and staff, and other entrepreneurial students.
  • The 1st and 2nd place winning teams:
    • Should arrive at the venue early with all members of your team and an overview of your idea (poster or short PowerPoint slideshow with laptop).
    • Will stand with the other Startup Week winners and talk to guests about your solutions during the cocktail reception.
    • Will be formally recognized by President Barron and will hear more about their prizes.

By participating in the IdeaMakers Challenge, students give the event organizers the right to post videos, pictures, and details related to their participation in the event.

Students retain all rights to the materials created as well as the materials and ideas presented at the IdeaMakers Challenge.