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UMass Lowell to Award $25,000 for Best Innovative Ideas


Contacts for media: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or

* M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y *

DifferenceMaker Challenge Propels Student, Alumni Entrepreneurs

Monday, Jan. 27 and Tuesday, Jan. 28
6 to 7:30 p.m.

WHAT: What will UMass Lowell students invent this year? Find out as they flex their entrepreneurial muscle during the 2014 DifferenceMaker $25,000 Idea Challenge.

The contest – which builds innovative-thinking and problem-solving skills – asks UMass Lowell students and young alumni to come up with a plan for a product, business or service that answers a real-world challenge, such as climate change, access to health care, support for the arts, cyber security and more. Students pursuing a common goal will assemble teams that will be mentored by UMass Lowell faculty throughout the semester as they flesh out their ideas. 

Two information sessions on campus kick off the competition on Monday, Jan. 27 and Tuesday, Jan. 28. The challenge will culminate on April 15 with a pitch contest before a judges’ panel that will include UMass Lowell faculty and successful entrepreneurs. Winning teams will be awarded a share of $25,000 to help make their ideas a reality. 

Two of last year’s DifferenceMaker contest winners have already seen success, one developing a new type of prosthetic limb and the other launching a business that offers a website streamlining options for restaurant customers.

The Idea Challenge is part of UMass Lowell’s DifferenceMaker Program. Now in its second year, the initiative encourages students to find their place as innovators in the global marketplace. Involving students and faculty from each of UMass Lowell’s schools and colleges – from engineering to liberal arts, business to health sciences and education – the program provides academic and extracurricular activities that expand students’ understanding of entrepreneurship and how they can make a difference in the world. Students are introduced to the program at the start of their freshman year, guiding their studies as they work toward a future of civic engagement.

WHERE:  Monday, Jan. 27 – Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, Perry Atrium, North Campus, 40 University Ave., Lowell; Tuesday, Jan. 28 – O’Leary Library Learning Commons, South Campus, 61 Wilder St., Lowell. Contact UMass Lowell media relations for directions and parking information.