Innovate@BU Idea Cup
Take your ideas from classroom to community!
BU students are taking courses across the University where they are making change in business and tech ventures, as artists and creatives, and as advocates compelled to innovate along lines of social inequity and injustice. These courses develop coders, business administrators, fine artists, engineers, social workers, policy designers, curators, and so much more.
Want to leverage Innovate@BU resources to continue working on your innovative course idea or project with your faculty member’s support? Apply for the Fall 2019 Innovate@BU Idea Cup!
The Innovate@BU Idea Cup was established to highlight—and award— course ideas taking any form and hailing from every corner, school, and college of the University. These are, simply, the most innovative ideas of the 2019 summer and fall semesters.
Who should apply?
Everyone! Maybe you’re a student team in a product engineering class with a prototype, a Communication student who has created a new podcast, a Fine Arts student with an idea for a student-driven production, an MBA student with a fin-tech business model, a Public Health student hoping to reduce the burden of copays and health insurance for low-income families, or a Theology student wanting to create a program in your church for leaders to gain interfaith leadership skills.
No matter what expertise you bring to your idea, what tools and frameworks you use to generate novelty, or what kind of issue your idea addresses, we invite you and your faculty sponsor to apply. We aim to showcase a variety of ideas from across BU’s 17 schools and colleges.
Fall 2019 Timeline
- Friday, November 1: Applications open
- Sunday, November 17: Applications close (midnight)
- Friday, November 22: Finalists announced and notified
- Thursday, Dec. 5: Idea Cup Finale
- 5:30 pm: Set up Showcase Table and meet judges
- 6-6:15 pm: Showcase tables
- 6:15-7:15 pm: 1min team pitches with 2min of Q&A from judges
- 7:15-7:45 pm: Audience voting and showcase tables while judges deliberate
- 7:45- 8:00 pm: Announce winners and networking
How the Competition Works & Qualifications
- Individual or team submits an application with a signed faculty commitment letter
- Applications are reviewed and evaluated based on:
- The idea: provide a brief description of the idea/work product
- Meets a need: the idea addresses a problem that’s currently unaddressed or under-addressed
- Novelty: the idea is unique for this time and context
- Impact: the idea provides value and has the potential for large impact
- Lessons Learned: individual/team demonstrates deep learning through the development of this idea
- What’s next: individual/team has a plan to continue developing the idea in the next semester with faculty sponsorship if awarded prize money
- Team: The assembled team is well-positioned to execute on the vision
- Finalists will be announced on November 22
- Individuals/teams finalists must be available to present their idea at the Idea Cup on Thursday, December 5 from 5-8pm at the BUild Lab
- Finalists will have a showcase table to display prototypes, platforms, research, etc. and give a 60-second pitch at the event.
- 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be selected by a panel of judges LIVE at the event
- 1st place: $1000
- 2nd place: $750
- 3rd place: $500
- Audience favorite: $250
- All Finalists and faculty sponsors will be highlighted in a digital publication
- Individual/team must be presenting an idea/work product that came out of a summer 2019 or fall 2019 course. If selected as a winner, the individual/team will receive funding after the course has formally ended.
- All applications must include a signed faculty committment letter that demonstrates commitment to continuing idea develop in the following semester.
- In order to be considered for the finals, you must be available to pitch at the Finale from 5-8pm on Thursday, December 6.
- The Idea Cup is open to all course ideas/work products, including policy recommendations, art installments or presentations, new community programs, business plans, etc.
- At least one team member must be a current BU student. The team member that is a BU student should be the participant applying online.
- Your idea does not need to be a venture/business idea to be eligible for the Idea Cup.
- Do I have to turn my idea into a business? Nope! We welcome all kinds of ideas at whatever stage it is at, so long as you meet our other requirements under the “Qualifications” tab. Remember your idea can still be in the development phase; you must demonstrate your commitment to continue developing the idea with your faculty support.
- What if my idea isn’t a “venture”? No problem! We recognize that innovation comes in forms and varieties that go far beyond ventures. We welcome your idea whether it is a business and tech venture, as artists and creatives, as advocates compelled to innovate along lines of social inequity and injustice, and any other form of impact.
- How are applications scored? We use blind scoring to evaluate all applications. Please be thorough in your responses, no matter how much or little you’re already involved in the BUild Lab. The first round is based solely on this application. This scoring rubric will be used by judges for initial applications and during the live final event.
- I want to participate in the Idea Cup, but in the meantime, I also want to keep working on my idea. What else can I do to gain more traction? Check out all of our offerings at the BUild Lab here to see which programs resonate with where you are in development. We also recommend that you consider joining the Innovation Pathway which will help you reach more milestones, track your progress, gain measurable traction, and potentially earn some cash prizes along the way to help move your idea forward.
- Can I submit more than one application if I’m working on more than one idea? Unfortunately, not this time. Pick the course idea/work product that you’re most excited about, and don’t worry, all of our resources at the BUild Lab are still available to help you move all of your ideas forward!
- How can the prize money be used? Prize money should be used to meet milestones outlined in your proposal. Students may not receive funding while still enrolled in the course. Winners will be issued prize money after the semester has formally ended.