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2019 President's Innovation Challenge

A chance to change the world

The President’s Innovation Challenge is a call to action, innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s a challenge to the entire Harvard community of students and postdocs to engage with pressing issues facing the world and to explore turning their ideas into impactful, real-world ventures.

It’s also a competition — and an opportunity to win funding.

$75,000 Grand Prize (four total)
$25,000 Runner-Up Prize (four total)
$10,000 Ingenuity Award (one total)

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Prizes are awarded in each of four tracks:

1  Social Impact or Cultural Enterprise

2  Health or Life Sciences

3  Open (for ideas that transcend categories)

4  Launch Lab X (selected teams in our 9-month alumni accelerator program)

New in 2019! The Ingenuity Award rewards a creative and impactful idea with the potential to drive world-changing innovation. All applicants, regardless of how developed their venture, are eligible.

The Process
Approximately one hundred semi-finalist teams will be selected and automatically accepted into the 2019 Spring Venture Incubation Program. These teams gain full access to all i-lab resources (advisors, experts, etc.), where they can continue to grow their ventures. A panel of expert judges will then choose the finalists, who will go on to compete for their share of $410,000 in prize money. The Challenge culminates with the Showcase & Awards Ceremony on May 1, 2019.

The awards are made possible by a generous gift from the Bertarelli Foundation, Ernesto Bertarelli (MBA 1993).

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CLICK, LISTEN & LEARN:
HOW IDEAS ARE EVALUATED:

The letters in VERITE! correspond to the seven criteria we use to evaluate ideas and ventures. They are viability, empathy, rigor, ingenuity, traction, economics, and impact.

Vérité means truth. It’s what we’re after at the Harvard Innovation Labs. Because an idea can only be successful if it consistently channels the truth of the problem, the truth of the customer, and the truth of the solution.

Chris Colbert
Chris Colbert, Managing Director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, discusses how President’s Innovation Challenge ideas are evaluated. Click on each letter below to learn about the seven attributes of a successful venture.
V
Viability
E
Empathy
R
Rigor
I
Ingenuity
T
Traction
E
Economics
!
!

Apply

Tracks

Eligibility

FAQs

NEWSLETTER

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IMPORTANT EVENTS

Take advantage of Harvard i-lab events and resources to meet potential team members, gather feedback on your idea, and test and validate your venture.

December 12| Hack the Challenge
A specially designed hands-on, roll up your sleeves, turbocharged workshop to help you develop your strongest application. We’ll take a section-by-section deep dive into the application and, for each section, our i-lab advisors will give you an introduction and then help you craft your specific application responses.

KEY DATES

November 5, 2018 | Application form is live

January 2, 2019 | Application deadline

Late January | Semi-finalists selected

March 2019 | 20 finalists selected (5 per track)

May 1, 2019 | Live Pitches and Awards Ceremony