Announcing our first ever virtual IDEAS Competition with $1,000 prizes for top campus winners and a chance at a $10,000 grand prize

Do you have an early stage idea? Do you need funding to work on it? Or maybe just some motivation to act on it? The Blackstone LaunchPad is pleased to announce our first ever virtual Ideas Competition. The program is designed for students who are brand new to the world of innovation and have very early-stage ideas. The new signature program, supported by cash prizes through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, is designed to help encourage students to take the first step with a simple and easy chance to compete virtually for campus awards, as well as the opportunity to move on to a network-wide round. The competition is completely virtual, so Syracuse students from any discipline, as well as those studying abroad, are welcome to participate.  Applications are already open and are due by October 21. It’s simple, easy and fun.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Participants will need to select from one of the following four tracks:
  • Social and Climate Impact: Sustainability, education, human rights, poverty alleviation, racial and social justice
  • Health & Life Science: Biotech/sciences, health & medical science, healthcare
  • Consumer Products & Services
  • General 

2. After selecting a track, there are just a few questions.  You will be asked to briefly describe your idea, your target customer, a plan to generate revenue, your passion and your leadership potential.

3. Once you have prepared your answers, the application itself will only take a few minutes to complete.

4. The top track winners of the campus round will each take home $1,000. Then, four finalists from each campus will advance to the network round to compete for an additional $10,000 and coaching by experts to develop branding, technology and product strategy.

Eligibility guidelines:

  • Must be a current student (undergraduate or graduate-level) ​ 
  • Must be a “founder/co-founder” (i.e., the person with the original idea) 
  • Must be in the earliest stages, meaning just at the idea stage and have just started thinking about it
  • Must apply as an individual or in teams of two​

Key dates:

  • October 4:  Applications open for campus round
  • October 21:  Deadline to apply for campus round.  Apply here.
    • All applications must be submitted by 11:59PM ET on Thursday, October 21
  • October 23:  Fun team building event at Bird Library, “Startup in a Day” (watch for details)
  • October 25 to November 15:  Campus deliberation period
    • Applicants will be evaluated and scored 
  • November 15:  Campus awards announced
    • Winner from each track across each school will be announced
    • Campus winners will be invited to the finalist network round, competing against the 46 schools in the LaunchPad network
  • December 1: Deadline for LaunchPad network round finalist participation and a chance at $10,000

This competition is particularly geared to first time entrants.  Are you part of a Syracuse Learning Community?  Are you taking a EEE class in Whitman and working on an idea for a class project?  Are you taking an IDS class in the iSchool and working on ideation?  Are you exploring a digital media platform in Newhouse?  Are you playing around with an idea related to sports entrepreneurship or food entrepreneurship in Falk?  Are you a VPA student thinking about launching a career as a creator?  Are you a Maxwell student thinking about impact engagement and how you can make a difference in the world?  Are you an education student thinking of ways that system could be improved through programs or new technology?  Are you a School of Architecture student who has an idea about a design project?  Or, an Engineering and Computer Science who has been drawing product ideas in a notebook, or fooling around with an idea for a new app? 

We want to hear from you, even if it is just the earliest seed of an idea.  Because that’s where creativity and innovation start — at the very beginning of a journey.

We’re excited to discover some of the best ideas germinating on campus. Submit them here for a chance to win cash awards for the top ideas.

For questions, email

Story by LaunchPad Global Fellow Sasha Temerte ’23