Who can participate?
Penn State Berks Flemming CEED Center invites all Penn State students, faculty, recent alumni, and community teams to submit their innovative ideas in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields to the STEM Idea Contest.
Why only STEM Ideas?
The STEM Idea Content is a gateway for other STEM-related programs such as VentureWell E-Team Grant Program and Invent Penn State I-Corps. Participating teams will get support and coaching to apply for these two programs. Consider applying for the Student Enterprise Award by the Flemming CEED Center for your more general business ideas.
What are the benefits?
Each finalist team will receive training on Customer Discovery and will be eligible for a $500 seed grant to further develop their idea. In addition, teams will tap into the resources of the Flemming CEED Center, with the potential to connect with strategic partners, business mentors, and other students who help to turn your idea into a successful venture.
The selected teams will be invited to attend the Spring 2021 Idea TestLab. After completing the Idea TestLab, the teams will become eligible to receive a micro-grant of up to $3,000, which can be used for further customer discovery expenses; be matched with the dedicated academic and business mentors who meet with teams to provide business expertise, advise on pitch development and funding strategies, and help grow a network of contacts.
What is Idea TestLab?
The first step of taking an idea from concept to business is validating whether your idea addresses an important problem of your target customers. Penn State Berks 6-week Idea TestLab helps you get a better handle on what problem your customer really has, where they hang out, and what value you can provide that others can’t. The program introduces methods to test business models and markets. The Idea TestLab is free of charge for selected teams. We will an Idea TestLab session in Spring 2021.
The Contest Process and Applications:
- Submit your application by September 22, 2020: Apply here
- Finalists will be announced on September 25, 2020.
- Finalists will be invited to pitch their idea through a 4-minute Zoom pitch to the selection committee. 5:15 pm-6:15 pm, Wednesday, September 30, 2020)
- Selected finalist teams will be invited to receive a 2-hour virtual training on Customer Discovery in mid-October. (the date and time will be determined based on the team schedules)
- Teams will then interview a minimum of 10 potential customers and submit the findings of their customer discovery for the final phase of the contest. (mid-November)
- The top three teams will be awarded up to a $500 seed grant for further developing their ideas.
- The teams will then be invited to attend the Flemming CEED Center Virtual Idea TestLab starting in the early Spring semester (January 2021).