Rules and Eligibility

Competition Structure

All participating universities will select one team to send to the competition. The competition will begin with a preliminary round. In this “quick pitch” round, each student or student team will go before a panel of judges and present an approximately three-minute pitch, followed by five minutes for questions and comments from the judges.

The preliminary round judges will then select five of the possible fifteen teams to continue on to the final round, which will be televised live the following evening. Following the final round, competition organizers will host a networking session for all competing teams as an opportunity for the students to meet with the competition judges and potential investors.

Team Eligibility Requirements

Each team member must meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below.

  1. Each university finalist team may be composed of full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students or recent graduates of the university within one year of graduation from their undergraduate program.
  2. If a team member is a recent graduate of the university, the idea for the invention must have been initially conceived while the student was enrolled as an undergraduate.
  3. If a team member is a recent graduate of the university and is now attending graduate school at another ACC institution, the student is only eligible to compete for their undergraduate institution.
  4. Entrants should be the original creators, inventors, or owners of the intellectual property (IP)
    underlying their invention. 
  5. A team whose idea or invention qualifies as university-owned IP is not eligible to enter.
  6. Teams with generated revenue or venture capital funding in excess of $100,000 are not eligible to compete. This includes funding from both institutional and non-institutional sources (contests, grants, friends and family, bank loans, etc.)
  7. Teams who competed as a university finalist in the competition in a previous year may not compete
    as an identical entrant in subsequent years. A university may again nominate a team that served as
    their finalist previously only if the university decides there has been substantive improvement or
    change to their invention.

Judging Criteria

The judging criteria for the preliminary and the final round will consist of four main categories:

  1. Idea. Idea validity, novelty, and potential social impact.
  2. Business Model. Value proposition, cost structure, key resources, customer discovery and validation (marketability, market size), and product or service development strength.
  3. Entrepreneurship. Future vision, team commitment and culture, team expertise and knowledge, and pitch delivery.
  4. Probability of Becoming a Successful Business. Competitive advantage and probability of receiving investment.