Brains Over Brawn: ACC Competition Focuses on Student Entrepreneurship
After years of battling it out on football fields, students at ACC schools will compete in a new sport: the Atlantic Coast Conference InVenture Prize.
The contest will reward undergraduate students with cash prizes for innovations that aim to solve the world’s big problems.
The inaugural competition will be held April 5 and 6 at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Teams of students representing each of the ACC’s 15 universities will pitch their inventions or startups before a live audience and a panel of judges.
The competition is sponsored by the ACC Academic Consortium, which supports academic initiatives among member universities.
The tournament taps into the entrepreneurial spirit growing at college campuses. It is modeled after Georgia Tech’s InVenture Prize, which started in 2009 to leverage the maker culture and encourage students to push their ideas even further.
"The Inventure Prize at Georgia Tech has proven to be a unique tool to promote educational objectives like creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, all within a fun and friendly competitive environment that attracts participants and observers alike,” said Rafael L. Bras, Georgia Tech’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “The ACC provosts agreed that we shared the same educational objectives, and the InVenture format could serve all of us. I am proud that we will be the first to host the conference and share our expertise in what hopefully will be a popular new 'academic sport' for the benefit and enjoyment of ACC students and fans."
During the two-day program, students will tour Atlanta incubators and accelerators and meet with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Representatives from each college will share strategies their campuses use to foster innovation, said Chris Reaves, director of Undergraduate Research and Student Innovation at Georgia Tech and one of the contest organizers.
“The time is right to help students who have the energy, resources, and technology to grow the next business,” Reaves said. “This competition will increase the chance of success for all the teams.”
Teams will be judged in four areas — entrepreneurship; business model; quality of the idea; and the probability of becoming a successful business.
First-place wins $15,000 and the second place finisher earns $10,000.
A $5,000 People’s Choice Award goes to the fans’ favorite, which will be determined by online and text voting during the televised final round.
The 15 participating colleges are: Boston College, Clemson University, Duke University, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State, University of Notre Dame, Syracuse University, University of Louisville, University of Miami, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, and Wake Forest University.