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

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

More

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)

The Process

93 semi-finalist teams have been accepted into the 2019 Spring Venture Incubation Program. Drawing on all i-lab resources, they will develop their ventures over 12 weeks. A panel of expert judges will then choose the finalists, who will go on to compete for the prizes.

The Awards Ceremony

The President’s Innovation Challenge culminates with the Awards Ceremony on May 1, 2019 in Klarman Hall at the Harvard Business School. At this thoughtfully curated, dynamic and unforgettable evening, guests will meet the most innovative of the startups being built at Harvard – and see 20 finalists showcase their highly-anticipated projects live. Harvard President Lawrence Bacow will present the awards that will propel the winning ventures ahead. The event is open to the public.

CLICK, LISTEN & LEARN:
HOW IDEAS ARE EVALUATED:

The letters in VERITE! correspond to the seven criteria we use to evaluate ideas and ventures: 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
!
!

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New in 2019: Ingenuity Awards

The world needs new ideas. So, for the first time in the history of the President’s Innovation Challenge, we are giving out $10,000 in Ingenuity Awards for bold, original ideas that impress our panel of judges with their audacity and creativity.

Apply here

New! Ingenuity Awards

Meet the 93 Contenders

Tracks

Eligibility

KEY DATES

March 18, 2019 | Finalist Applications Due

April 15, 2019| Finalists Announced

May 1, 2019 | Live Pitches and Awards Ceremony

AWARDS CEREMONY

Ready to discover the next generation of companies working to change the world? Then register for the President’s Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony on May 1, 2019.