Developing and retaining STEM talent in CNY for economic advancement

“You have a great program and it should continue. These kids are the future of innovation and business in our community. Please let SCORE know of mentoring opportunities for the next go. After all, this is what we do best.”
-Gregory Schwarz, SCORE

The CNY Innovation Challenge aims to spark ideas to develop groundbreaking products or services and to foster entrepreneurship. We know that students have really good ideas that could turn into great inventions and this challenge has been designed to help guide those ideas from concept to completion. The process includes a crucial step – documenting intellectual property to protect concepts that could be used in a patent application. Teams will learn strategies to advance their idea and take a product/service to market. In addition to designing and developing an idea, you will need to have a solid go-to-market plan and a marketing pitch to “sell” your concept. See full rules.

The Challenge is open to students in grades 6-12. There will be winners in two brackets: high school (grades 10-12) and middle school (grades 6-9). Teams need to have a minimum of two students and a maximum of four. Top team prize for the high school category is $1,000 and top team prize for middle school level is $500. Additional prizes will be determined based on the number of entries overall.

Challenge problems: choose a problem in one of the following areas and think of a creative solution!

  • Create a product/service that would make your school life easier
  • Develop a way for students to save time/be more efficient
  • Invent a way to increase understanding of various concepts taught in class
  • Design an app that will help increase communication or make teleworking easier
  • Fabricate an invention that would improve leisure activities
  • Conceive an alternative to standardized tests for measuring student performance
  • Build a product/service that will help the environment
  • Devise a way to enhance family relationships
  • Think of an idea that would help students determine a career path
  • Generate a product/service that the world “can’t live without”

How do I get started?

  • Form a team! Talk to your classmates about this exciting opportunity. All students will need to have formed a team before they can participate in the challenge. Two to four people per team.
  • Send questions
  • Register to participate

Challenge at a glance:

  • Kickoff Meeting on Jan. 30
  • Register by Feb. 15
  • Open for students in grades 6-12
  • Students will select a problem and find a creative solution to solve it
  • Teams will have access to a mentor to ask questions to
  • Over $2,500 in prizes for winning teams
  • Final presentations on March 30 at OCC
  • Academic 2 at OCC

Register as a mentor:

  • Offer advice and different perspectives throughout the project via email
  • Respond to students' questions
  • Register

Sponsored by:

Sponsorship opportunities are available