The CSULB Innovation Challenge is a great opportunity to develop your business, leadership, and analytical skills, as well as make connections and meet people with similar interests.To enter, you need a team, an idea, and a letter of intent. See below for details.
Form a Team
Each team must have at least one current CSULB student in a leading role and should include 3-7 members with varied entrepreneurial, technical, and business skills. Teams must submit a letter of intent and a compliant business plan by the deadlines. Teams will be assigned mentors and can seek help from business professionals off campus. Interested in competing? Sign up to receive updates.
Submit a Letter of Intent
The Letter of Intent (LOI), also available on the Resources page, includes data about the team and the general innovative business/technology area and targeted market. It will be used to select the mentors most suited to assist each team. Mentors will be assigned to team applicants within two weeks of submitting their LOI. To be considered, LOIs must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit a Business Plan
Each team must submit a full business plan, which will be the basis of a significant portion of how the teams are judged. Download the template from the Small Business Administration. The template generates a business plan. Teams must complete each section, answering the question prompts. (Tip: prepare a draft of each section in Word, and after completing your research and editing, copy the material into the template.) Since the Challenge focuses on early-stage business opportunities, the section on Financial Management isn't required. The Small Business Administration template will be discussed at the information sessions and mentors can help answer questions about what each section should include.
Judges will review business plans and invite several teams for meetings, then select four teams as finalists. Finalists will be invited to submit final business plans and present them to the judging panel at the award ceremony. Judges will evaluate teams based on members’ experience and projected ability to implement the business plan, as well as the plan including:
- A clear identification of customer needs/requirements
- An innovative solution/approach to address the need
- A sound marketing and sales concept
- A reasonable business concept and revenue model
- A clear quality and style
Teams invited to present will receive certificates and gift certificates at the award ceremony. The winning team will be awarded seed funding and in-kind contributions, such as:
- Office space for one year
- Printing services for business cards, stationery, and brochures
- Marketing services/consultation
- Legal assistance
- Accounting and tax assistance for one year
- Communication services: web, phone
- Business consulting and mentoring, as needed
Terms and Conditions
By submitting a letter of intent or business plan to the CSULB Innovation Challenge ("Challenge"), each Applicant listed above agrees to the following conditions:
- Each team member has reviewed the Innovation Challenge official rules and agrees to abide by them. Failure to do so will result in entry disqualification and/or forfeiture of any awards.
- It is the Applicant's responsibility to protect any confidential or trade secret information. Proposals will be handled confidentially. The legal protection of the ideas and plans submitted by the applicants to the Challenge is otherwise the sole responsibility of the Applicants.
- Once submitted, Applications become part of the Challenge and will not be returned. Applicants are advised to keep their own copies for reference.
- All decisions made by the Challenge judges and organizers on all matters relating to the Challenge will be final and not open to appeal or negotiation.
- The Challenge reserves the unrestricted right to interpret these terms and the Challenge Guidelines and to alter, amend, or change them at its discretion.
- Each Applicant understands that the Challenge’s co-sponsors, judges, mentors, co-organizers (the "Challenge Officials") and its directors, officers, partners, employees, consultants and agents (collectively "Organizer Representatives") are volunteers. In consideration for their time, expertise and other resources, each Applicant hereby voluntarily releases the Challenge, each Challenge Official, each Organizer Representative, and the CSU from any liabilities and claims of any kind whatsoever, whether known or unknown, which arise out of or pertain to the Applicant's participation in the Challenge or the Challenge Official's or Organizer Representative's participation in the Challenge.