Applications now open for fall 2020 campus competitions

two students pitching
Alec Gillinder and Quinn King ’20 (VPA Industrial and Interaction Design) won more than $60,000 as students pitching in business plan competitions, graduated and went on to launch their venture idea. The opportunities. connections and personal growth along the way changed their lives, they say, and helped define their Syracuse experience in a memorable way..

Applications for fall 2020 campus innovation competitions are now open to compete for more than $25,000 in funding for ideas that offer creative solutions to problems or address unique opportunities. Three LaunchPad sponsored competitions this fall are open to all undergraduate and graduate students from any academic program. Students do not need to have a venture but do need to have ideas that could become products, services, tech solutions or social impact enterprises with the LaunchPad. Apply here and select among the three competitions: ‘Cuse Tank on October 16, The Impact Prize on November 13 and The Hult Prize on December 4. Students may apply to compete in all three, or select which ones they are most interested in. Details and deadlines are below. Stay tuned across our social media channels @LaunchPadSYR for updates and news stories about each event.

Here are the competitions:

  • October 16, 2020‘Cuse Tank (Applications close October 4 at 11:59 p.m.). Cuse Tank is sponsored by the LaunchPad as part of Family Weekend. It features parent entrepreneurs and “LaunchPad family” as judges in a “shark-Tank” style idea pitch fest with $10,000 in prizes.
  • November 13, 2020Impact Prize Competition (Applications close November 1 at 11:59 p.m.). The Impact Prize Competition is a social impact entrepreneurship event showcasing ideas that solve pressing societal issues, with change-maker entrepreneurs as judges, and $15,000 in prizes for the best ideas.
  • December 4, 2020Syracuse University Hult Prize Competition (Applications open on October 1 here and close November 22 at 11:59 p.m. for the Syracuse campus competition). Considered the “Nobel Prize of social entrepreneurship,” the global finals offer a $1 million grant prize. This year’s theme has been announced, “Food for Good.” Learn more here and register here:

Applicants to campus competitions are required to complete a short survey and load a one-page executive summary. Mentors and coaches will be assigned to work with students on preparing competitive pitch decks and mapping out a roadmap from concept to commercialization.

Team are particularly encouraged to apply. Many of the best ideas come for classes that require group projects, so consider taking your class idea and turning into a model you can monetize. Ideas that started in Syracuse University dorm rooms or classrooms are now successful companies hiring Syracuse students as employees and interns. Over the past four years Syracuse University students have won $3.4 million in campus, state and national competitions and raised more than $25 million in equity funding for their ventures. In the past four years, working on more than 800 ideas, Syracuse University students have legally incorporated more than 95 businesses. Others have used the experience to build their resumes and find their dream jobs at top innovation companies around the world.

a judge speaks to two contestants after a pitch competition
PowerSpike Founder AJ Damiano and SparkCharge Founder Josh Aviv at their very first SU student business plan competition, speaking to Gisela vonDran who helps fund the annual Impact Prize. AJ and Josh went on to win the NYS Business Plan Competition that year, be selected for the highly competitive Techstars accelerator program, and launch companies after graduation. They have since raised more than $5 million combined for their ventures.

Are you a LaunchPad member? If not, please join here:

Have questions, e-mail: