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Students with innovative business ideas will have the opportunity to win up to $5,000 to help get their concepts off the ground this fall.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham Innovation Lab (iLab) and Collat School of Business have launched the Blazer Innovation Challenge, sponsored by IBERIABANK, to encourage UAB students to develop new solutions to product, service or process challenges.
In addition to winning up to $5,000 in prize money, entrants will have the opportunity to benefit from valuable mentoring, coaching and other iLab resources to help incubate their ideas and potentially launch their own startup companies throughout the 2016-17 academic year.
“The Blazer Innovation Challenge will help us engage bright and creative students from throughout UAB to put great ideas into practice,” said Joel Dobbs, Collat’s entrepreneur-in-residence. “Many of our students, either individually or with fellow students, identify real-world problems that they are passionate about solving. The Blazer Innovation Challenge will allow us to identify, fund and nurture some of the best of these.”
Students can work individually or as part of a team, but can submit only one idea for consideration. Along with their challenge application, students will submit a one-minute video that explains the idea, the problem it solves and why it is relevant.
The first round of submissions is due by midnight Oct. 19. Five finalists will be selected to receive coaching through the UAB iLab, including a workshop on using iMovie software presented by Apple. Final video submissions are due by midnight Nov. 7. The finalists will compete against one another with a revised video presentation and live Q&A before a panel of judges at the iLab on Nov. 16.
The first-place winner will receive $5,000, while the second- and third-place winners will receive $2,500 and $1,000, respectively. Along with the funding for their idea, the finalists will receive valuable coaching and mentoring from professionals within the iLab and the Collat School of Business throughout the 2016-17 academic year. They will present their progress to school and business leaders in April 2017.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our students to put their ideas on the table and receive mentoring and coaching from professionals on how to turn those ideas into real businesses,” said Eric P. Jack, Ph.D., dean of the Collat School of Business. “We are thrilled to partner with IBERIABANK on this challenge and are eager to see the innovations our students develop.”
The competition will be open to all current UAB students who plan to be enrolled during the entire 2016-17 academic year. Ideas cannot be the result of grant funding, employment at UAB or other direct support from UAB. To apply, visit the Blazer Innovation Challenge website. More information about the competition, rules for eligibility and judging criteria can also be found online.