Timeline for the IdeaMakers Challenge

Click on each event to learn more!

 

Fri Jan 18: Team applications open

  • All team members must be undergraduate students currently enrolled and in good standing at Penn State.
  • Teams must have a minimum of 2 students and no more than 5 students.
  • At least 2 colleges must be represented among the team members. For students with double majors, you should select one of your majors as the college that you represent.

Sun Feb 3: Team applications close at midnight

  • The application form will close at midnight Sun Feb 3, so get your applications in early!

Week of Feb 18: Teams notified of acceptance

  • All teams will be notified via email as to whether were selected as one of the teams to advance to the semi-final Rocket Pitch round.

Tue Feb 26: Kickoff and Expert Workshop

Date and Time: Tuesday February 26, 6-8pm (teams will be emailed their schedule)
Location: Westgate Building – First floor, east-side lounge area by the elevators

To help teams get ready for the Semi-Final Rocket Pitch round, teams will have the opportunity to speak with experts in the following areas:

  • Prototyping: Discuss questions about technology and how to prototype your idea
  • Business + Marketing: Receive advice in how to identify your value proposition, customer segments, customer data, and marketing strategies
  • Pitching: Learn how to effectively pitch your idea in a short amount of time
  • Legal: Get answers to questions about the legal side of your idea/business

An email will be sent to the teams with instructions for how to sign up for 15-minute slots with the experts.

Food will be served – We encourage all teams to come and network!

Mar 13 + Mar 18: Team Workshops (optional)

Event: Prototyping Workshop – Come learn how to create a digital prototype of your idea
Date and Time: Wed Mar 13, 6-7pm
Location: Westgate E201 Classroom

Event: Practice Pitch Workshop – Come hear tips about how to give an effective rocket pitch and practice your own pitch
Date and Time: Mon Mar 18, 6-7pm
Location: Westgate E201 Classroom

Mar 20: Semi-Final Rocket Pitches (required for all teams)

Date and Time: Wednesday March 20, 6:30-8:00 PM (your team will be assigned a time-slot)
Location: Westgate E201 classroom
Judges: See the judges page for more information
Judging Rubric: See the judges semi-final rubric for how each team will be evaluated

All team members must check-in outside the room by 6:15. Pitches begin promptly at 6:30PM.

Teams should create a PowerPoint deck and a 3-minute presentation. It is recommended that your presentation include the following topics/slides:

  • Title Slide: Team name with individual teammates’ names and majors
  • Problem/Need: Clearly define the problem/need that you are trying to address to motivate the reason for you business idea
  • Target Customer Segment(s): Clearly identify the target user(s) of your product/service
  • Solution: Describe the proposed IT solution and be clear about the role that IT plays in the solution, as well as how the idea solves the identified problem for the defined customer segment(s)

Slide Formatting Requirements:

  • The file should be saved as a PDF (to lock down any images and font types).
  • Slides should only include static text and/or embedded images.
  • Slides should NOT include video, animations, builds, or links to outside sources. If your team has a unique situation where you want to include this content, then talk to the faculty adviser (ideamakers@ist.psu.edu).
  • Teams who fail to send their file by the deadline or teammates who not attend the semi-final pitches or have a documented excuse will be disqualified from competing in the finals.
  • The slide deck for your team should be emailed to ideamakers@ist.psu.edu by no later than the night before the semi-finals (by midnight).

What happens at the semi-finals…

  • Dress is business attire.
  • All teams must check-in outside the room by 6:15pm.
  • A volunteer will call your team into the room to present. All team members must be present to compete (unless you have notified the organizers ahead of time).
  • The PPT you send will be pre-loaded for you at the time of the Semi-Final Rocket Pitches, so you will not be able to make changes or slide substitutions after you send it.
  • The attendees in the room will be two judges, event organizers, and students who wish to watch the pitches.
  • Teams will have 3 minutes to pitch their ideas to the judges, who will evaluate the ideas based on the semi-final judging rubric.
  • The timekeeper will stop teams at the 3-minute mark, so we strongly encourage you to practice and time your pitches.
  • The judges will ask 1-2 short questions.
  • After all pitches are done, the judges will deliberate and select the top 5 teams who will compete in the finals.
  • The organizers and judges will announce the top 5 teams via email the night of the semi-finals after they have completed their discussions on the strengths of each team’s pitch.

The top 5 teams will then receive a mentor and further instructions for their Final Pitch on Wednesday April 3 @ 4 PM during Penn State Startup Week!

Week of Mar 18: Top five teams assigned mentors

Final teams will be assigned mentors and introduced via email.

Each team should reach out to the mentor to set up times to work on their ideas and strengthen their pitches for the Final Competition on Wednesday April 3 @ 4 PM.

Week of Mar 25: Practice Pitch for Final Pitches (required for top 5 teams)

Date and Time: Date TBD (usually from 6:00-8:00 PM, individual teams will be given 20 minutes for practice and feedback)
Location: Room W201 Westgate Building (Cybertorium)

All teams competing in the final pitch are required to attend.

Teams should come prepared to give their 5-minute pitch.

Feedback will be provided to each team in preparation for the final pitches by your practice pitch mentors.

Wed Apr 3: Final Pitch for the IdeaMakers Challenge (required for top 5 teams)

Date and Time: Wednesday April 3, 4:00 – 5:15 PM — All teams must check-in by 3:45pm at the front of the room
Location: Room W201 Westgate Building (Cybertorium)
Keynote Speaker: 2018 Winners Moichor – Shevy Karbasi, Matt Chen, and Steve Flanagan
Event Judges: To be determined

Teams should create a PowerPoint deck for their pitch – Teams can decide the best order of their slides so that it flows with their pitch, but be sure to include these topics:

  • Title Slide: Team Name with individual teammates’ names and majors/colleges
  • Statement of the Problem/Need: What is the problem or need you are addressing and why is it important?
  • Target Customer Segment: Who has this problem/need and will eventually purchase or use your product/service? Why are they your target audience? How large of a market do they represent?
  • Proposed Solution: How will you meet the defined problem/need? How will you deliver value to the defined customer segment? Include paper, physical or virtual prototype if you have it.
  • Role of IT: What is the key role that IT plays in your ability to deliver a solution?
  • Business Model: How will you make money or generate funds to sustain your business?
  • Competitive Advantage: What other solutions are already available? How is your solution better or more likely to succeed?

Slide Formatting Requirements:

  • The file should be saved as a PDF (to lock down font types).
  • Slides should only include static text and/or embedded images.
  • Slides should not include video, animations, builds, or links to outside sources. If one of these is essential for your pitch (e.g., a video demo of your product), talk to the organizer and we will make it work.
  • Teams who fail to send their file by the deadline or teammates who fail to attend may be disqualified from the competition.
  • The slide deck for your team should be emailed to ideamakers@ist.psu.edu by no later than the night before the finals (by midnight).

What happens at the finals…

  • Dress is business attire.
  • All teams must check-in at the room by 3:45pm.
  • All teams will sit in the first two rows. All team members must be present to compete (unless you have notified the organizers ahead of time).
  • The PPT you send will be pre-loaded for you at the time of the final pitches, so you will NOT be able to make changes or slide substitutions after you send it.
  • The attendees in the room will be the judges, event organizers, and students/community members who attend to hear the pitches.
  • Teams will have 5 minutes to pitch their ideas to the judges, who will evaluate the ideas based on the final judging rubric.
  • The timekeeper will signal for the team to stop after 5 minutes, so we strongly encourage you to practice and time your pitch to ensure that you are able to cover the key points.
  • The judges will ask 2-3 short questions.
  • After all pitches are done, the judges will deliberate and select the winning teams.
  • The organizers and judges will announce the winning teams and their prizes at the end of the final competition.

The top 2 teams are also required to attend the Winners Recognition Event on Thursday April 4 (6-8pm) in Pegula Arena.

Thu Apr 4: University-wide Awards Ceremony

Date and Time: Thu April 4 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM — 1st place winners must arrive at 5:30 PM
Location: Pegula Arena

The winning teams (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) are invited to attend the Start-up Week Awards Ceremony to be recognized for their participation in the IdeaMakers Challenge, and to mingle with invited Startup week speakers, judges, and mentors; Penn State faculty and staff; and other entrepreneurial students.

The 1st place winners:

  • Should arrive at the arena by 5:30pm with all members of your team and an overview of your idea (poster or short PowerPoint slideshow).
  • Your team will stand with the other Startup Week winners to present a poster/PPT overview of their idea and talk to guests about your solutions during the cocktail reception.
  • The first place winners of all Startup Week competition will be recognized by Penn State’s President Barron.

Food and drinks will be served!