The UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge is an entrepreneurial competition where participants pitch their innovative business idea to a panel of judges, for a chance to win cash prizes. The purpose of this challenge is to expose students and faculty in all disciplines to entrepreneurial thinking and to bring recognition and attention to innovators at the University of Hawai‘i. The Challenge does not require a business plan or complicated financial statements.
The Challenge pairs competitors with business mentors, and teaches students to research market opportunities, seek customer validation, and determine the commercial potential of their idea. Furthermore, students hone their presentation and communication skills. This program serves as a stepping stone for the rigorous UH Venture Competition in the spring semester.
In the qualifying round, participants submit a 2-minute YouTube video describing their innovation and its market opportunity. The video submissions are viewed and ranked by a preliminary round of judges.
The finalists present their business idea to a judging panel and live audience. The panel may be comprised of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, angel investors, and other professionals. The presentations are evaluated and the winners are announced immediately.
Individuals and teams of up to 5 people may enter.
(Please note that if a team advances to the final round, all team members must be present for the final presentation.)
At least one member of the team must be a current classified UH student or faculty. The team may be comprised of non-UH members.
(Please note that if the team claims a prize, the award can be designated to UH team members only.)
Participants may enter as many ideas as they wish. However, only one idea from the same individual / team will be selected to advance to the Finals.
Previous Breakthrough Innovation Challenge or UH Business Plan Competition entries are not eligible.
All submissions must be factual, entirely new innovations, and the original work of the entrants.
PRELIMINARY ROUND: VIDEO ENTRY
Produce a 2-minute video describing the innovation and how it may solve a problem in the world. See judging criteria. All qualifying video submissions will be viewed and ranked by a preliminary judging panel.
Video must not be longer than 2 minutes. If the video is over 2 minutes, the entry will be automatically disqualified.
State name of idea.
Do not state team members’ names.
Presentation must be done as a verbal explanation. Visual aids are not necessary but may be used to enhance the presentation.
The best video entries will be announced online. Finalists will be paired with a business mentor to help prepare for the live pitch. Finalists who present at the final event will have the chance to receive a cash award.
FINAL ROUND: LIVE PITCH
Finalists will give a pitch of their business idea to a judging panel and live audience. PACE strongly encourages participants to align their presentation to the Judging Criteria. All members of a team must be present for the final presentation. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session with the judges. The judging panel may be comprised of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, angel investors, and other professionals. The judges will score each presentation, following Q&A.
The UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge aims to recognize new business ideas.
Your video should:
Describe the innovation.
Address the problem the innovation solves.
Explain how the innovation is a breakthrough from the status quo. What makes it better than anything else that’s currently in the space?
Live Pitch Judging Criteria:
The Idea (60%): Describe a problem in this world and how the innovation helps to solve the problem. How is the innovation a breakthrough from the status quo?
The Market (20%): The most innovative ideas will sit on the shelf, if nobody wants to buy it. Identify a specific group of people who are potential customers (target market) and illustrate the size of the market. More importantly, provide evidence for the desire and need for the innovation.
The Competition (20%): Business ideas that have big potential will likely have existing competitors in the same market. Identify potential direct and indirect competitors, and explain what sets the business idea apart (better, faster, stronger) from its competition.
The University of Hawai‘i Honor Code applies to all participants of any PACE activity. While every effort will be made to preserve the confidentiality of each submission, it is suggested that highly sensitive material be excluded from the entry if a team is concerned about the confidentiality of such material. Note, however, that teams will be making final presentations to an open audience. Of course, technical drawings and formulae need not be shown at this presentation, or even included in the video.
The University of Hawai‘i and the organizers of the challenge cannot take further responsibility to protect the intellectual property or other rights of the competitors. Protection of such rights is ultimately the responsibility of each competitor. Competitors are urged to mark as “CONFIDENTIAL” any portion of their entries, which they consider to be confidential. The organizers, judges, and other affiliates of the Challenge will NOT enter into non-disclosure agreements with entering teams.
All team members must be present for the live pitch round and the awards reception or risk forfeiture of prize. Prize money will be disbursed in accordance with university policies. All federal and state taxes are the responsibility of the winners.