Timeline for the IdeaMakers Challenge

Click on each event to learn more!

 

Wed Jan 17: 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.

Fri Feb 2: Team applications close at midnight

  • The application form will close at midnight Friday February 2nd, so get your applications in early!

Week of Feb 5: 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.

Thu Feb 8: Expert Workshop @ Happy Valley Launchbox

Date and Time: Thursday February 8, 6-8pm
Location: Happy Valley Launchbox, 224 S. Allen Street, State College, PA 16801  (look for the bright orange door; located next to Cozy Thai)

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:

  • IT + Prototyping: Questions about technology solutions and prototyping
  • Business + Marketing: Identifying value, customer segments, and marketing
  • Pitching: How to effectively pitch your idea
  • Legal: 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!

Thu Feb 22: Semi-Final Rocket Pitches

Date and Time: Thu Feb 22, 6:00-8:00 PM
Location: Westgate E201

All teams must check-in outside the room by 5:45. Pitches begin promptly at 6:00PM.

Teams should create a 4-slide PowerPoint deck and a 3-minute presentation. Your presentation should include the following:

  • Title Slide: Team Name with individual teammates’ names and majors
  • Slide 1: The problem/need to be addressed
  • Slide 2: The target audience
  • Slide 3: The proposed solution (including the role of IT in the solution)

Slide Formatting Requirements:

  • The file should be saved as a PPT file (if using standard fonts) or 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. You will be asked to remove this content if it is included.
  • Teams who fail to send their file by the deadline, who have more than 4 slides, or who include elements not permitted may be disqualified from competing.
  • 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 5:45pm.
  • An organizer 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 may ask 1-2 short questions (or they may not have any questions).
  • After all pitches are done, the judges will deliberate and select the top 5 teams.
  • The organizers and judges will announce the top 6 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 6 teams will then receive a mentor and further instructions for their Final Pitch on Wednesday March 28 @ 4 PM during Penn State Startup Week!

Week of Mar 12: Final 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 March 28 @ 4 PM.

Thu Mar 22: Practice Pitch for Final Pitches

Date and Time: Thursday March 22, 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 Mar 28: Final Pitch for the IdeaMakers Challenge

Date and Time: Wednesday March 28, 4:00 – 6:00 PM — All teams must check-in by 3:45pm
Location: Room W201 Westgate Building (Cybertorium)
Keynote Speaker: To be determined
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?
  • Each team should bring printed and stapled copies of their final presentation for the judges.

Slide Formatting Requirements:

  • The file should be saved as a PPT file (if using standard fonts) or 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 may be disqualified from competing.
  • 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 1-2 short questions.
  • After all pitches are done, the judges will deliberate and select the top 2 teams.
  • The organizers and judges will announce the top 2 teams and their prizes at the end of the final competition.

The top 3 teams are also required to attend the Winners Recognition Event on Thursday March 29, 6-8pm in Pegula Arena.

Thu Mar 29: University-wide Awards Ceremony

Date and Time: Thu March 29, 6:00 – 8:00 PM — 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winners must arrive at 5:30 PM
Location: Pegula Arena

All 6 finalist teams 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 entrepreneurs, Penn State faculty and staff, and other entrepreneurial students.

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 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.
  • All winners will be recognized by Penn State’s President Barron.

Food will be served!