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Idea Challenge

Foley & Lardner LLP is an international law firm started in 1842. According to The American Lawyer, the firm ranked 39th on The American Lawyer's 2011 AmLaw 100 rankings of U.S. law firms, with $633,000,000 in gross revenue in 2010. Foley & Lardner has been in The American Lawyer's annual AmLaw 100 rankings of U.S. law firms by revenue since 1986.

This event process has concluded for this year. Please check back in December 2018 when the 2019 process is launched. Also, please get involved in our fall 2018 events and competitions!

Important Notes:

  • The DifferenceMaker Kick-off Idea Hack event has been rescheduled to Monday, Feb. 12th, in the Saab ETIC, Atrium on North Campus from 5:30-7p.m. due to the snow day.
  • The $50K Idea Challenge application has been extended to Feb. 19th, due to the snow days.

Join us at our spring 2018 events!

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Idea Challenge Application

Thank you to our 2018 corporate sponsor

Spring 2018 $50K Idea Challenge Information

The UMass Lowell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship will be hosting the Sixth Annual DifferenceMaker $50K Idea Challenge this spring 2018. The goal of the Idea Challenge is to engage UMass Lowell students in creative and innovative problem solving around major issues that affect our region and our future.

Student teams will be asked to develop real solutions to real problems. They will then be coached and guided to present a concept proposal for a needed service, product or business that addresses a real world challenge such as climate change, access to health care, support for the arts, cyber security, regional unemployment, etc.

$50,000 in prizes will be awarded to UMass Lowell student teams that present the best ideas and strategies for addressing these timely social and business challenges.

If you have innovative ideas for solving these types of problems, or want to work with others to try to figure this out, please consider forming a student team and enter the 2018 $50K Idea Challenge. All student teams will receive guidance and coaching in refining their concept and final presentation.

The DifferenceMaker $50K Idea Challenge awards ceremony will be held at University Crossing, Moloney Hall, Room 260, on April 25, 2018 from 5 - 8:30 p.m.

New! idea challenge opioid epidemic Track

Of all deaths due to opioid overdose in Massachusetts in 2017, 17% occurred in Middlesex County.  In Lowell, in 2017, 70 deaths occurred due to opioid overdose. Youth between the ages of 12-18 have been identified as an extremely vulnerable demographic for substance abuse.

Circle Health is looking to support an original and innovation prevention platform that will reach teens on their level and ultimately help end this epidemic. $4,500 will be given to the team that best solves this problem. Be sure to apply to the Idea Challengebefore February 19!

Join us at our spring 2018 events to learn more!

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be UMass Lowell students (graduate or undergraduate) or have graduated from the University within the past year.
  • UMass Lowell students or recent alumni must take a leadership role in developing, presenting and implementing the concept and proposed solution.
  • Students are highly encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams of two or more, meaning students from different majors should work together in developing and implementing the solution. If you haven’t yet connected with team members from other majors, we will help facilitate this. Please see our TeamMaker platform to help with team formation or contact DifferenceMaker@uml.edu.  This topic will be taken into account during scoring.

Challenge Details and Deadlines

(NEW DATE, due to snow day)

Idea Challenge Kick-off and Idea Hack - February 12

  • Come learn more about the DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge and brainstorm your ideas with other students, faculty and staff. This event will explain the Idea Challenge, highlight current student DifferenceMaker projects, and allow you to share your idea with others, as well as meet potential teammates and mentors. RSVP with your name, major, and year in school to DifferenceMaker@uml.edu.
  • Idea Challenge Applications are due by 5 p.m. on February 19 (NEW EXTENDED DATE)
  • Finalists will be chosen from the pool of applicants and be notified via email

Idea Concept Development – February to March

  • All student teams will be introduced to the Problem-Opportunity-Solution-Resources approach to problem solving. A series of workshops are scheduled to help teams examine their selected problem, explore the opportunity, develop possible solutions and identify needed resources.
  • Idea Plan submissions are due online. Please log into the Manage your TeamMaker page and click on the "Start Idea Plan" link for your project. Please complete and submit your Idea Plan by 5 p.m. on March 5.
  • Revised Idea Plans are due online by 5 p.m. on March 29. Please log into the Manage your TeamMaker page and click on the "Start Idea Plan" link for your project.
  • PPT Rocket Pitch Presentations and Posters are also due by 5 p.m. on March 29 via email to: DifferenceMaker@uml.edu.
  • Please Note: These are absolute deadlines. Teams submitting plans past the deadline will not be included in this years challenge.

Idea Challenge Pitch Events

Preliminary Pitch Off
April 4: 1:30 - 6 p.m.
Location: O'Leary Library, 1st Floor, South Campus

Each team will present a PPT presentation pitch describing their problem and proposed solution before a panel of alumni judges. Each presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A session with the judges. Then, the finalists for the 2018 $50K Idea Challenge, on April 25 will be selected and announced.

IMPORTANT Deliverables

  • NEW DATE (due to snow days) February 19: Idea Challenge application is due online by 5 p.m.
  • March 5: Idea Plan submission due online by 5 p.m. Please log in with your student credentials and fill out the form. Please log into the Manage your TeamMaker page and click on the "Start Idea Plan" link for your project.
  • March 29: Revised Idea Plan is due online (please log into the Manage your TeamMaker page and click on the "Start Idea Plan" link for your project)
  • March 29: Rocket Pitch PPT Presentation AND Poster are due to DifferenceMaker@uml.edu (Please name submitted documents with your project's title). An example of the Rocket Pitch (pdf) is available to review
  • April 4: Preliminary Pitch-off
  • April 25: Sixth Annual DifferenceMaker $50K Idea Challenge

Idea Challenge Finals Pitch Ceremony

April 25, 2018, 5 - 8:30 p.m.
University Crossing, Moloney Hall, Room 260

  • Selected finalist teams will present a pitch describing their problem and proposed solution before a panel of alumni judges. Each presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A session with the judges. The judges will select the winners of the Idea Challenge event and prizes will be awarded.

Prizes

A total of $50K in prizes will be awarded.

For more information contact: DifferenceMaker@uml.edu.