InVenture Prize FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does the Carolina Inventure Prize work?
A student team with an idea or venture that meets the criteria must apply by January 7 to participate in the competition. The first round of pitches are offered to all applicants the week of January 17. This first round is a quick-pitch competition that gives each student and student team five minutes to go on stage before a panel of judges to pitch their invention. The judges then follow up with ten minutes of questions and comments. A number of teams will be selected to advance to the next round and will eligible for a prototype award. Those few teams will be able to participate in weekly workshops during the month of February to move their ideas forward and prepare for the final round. During the final round, the teams will each give a three-minute presentation of their invention to a panel of expert judges followed by three minutes of Q&A. The selected team will spend the following month in weekly one-on-one sessions with various experts from the Carolina and local entrepreneurial community to prepare for the ACC Inventure Prize at NC State on April 16-17.

 *Prototype Award Funding may be available to select teams to assist with prototype construction. In order to be considered for an award, students must provide both an itemized budget and a statement (500 words max.) answering the question: “How will a Prototype Award help me or my team win the InVenture Prize?” The initial prototype work must be completed by the Carolina Inventure Prize Finals on February 28.

2. What is the InVenture Prize schedule?
Read the dates-to-know section of the overview page.

3. How can I apply to compete for the Inventure Prize?
Complete this online form.

4. How much does it cost to apply?
There is not a cost associated with the application, but it will take your time and effort.

5. If chosen to represent UNC at the ACC Inventure Prize, will my entire team be able to participate?
Yes, if you are chosen to represent UNC, your immediate team (limited to those actively working on the project) will be able to participate at the ACC Inventure Prize Competition in Raleigh, NC.

6. If chosen to represent UNC at the ACC Inventure Prize, will my expenses be covered?
Yes, if you are chosen to represent UNC, the team’s expense will be covered. Please note, all travel expenses need to be approved in advance of booking the travel.

7. Do I have to attend all of the workshops / office hours offered?
You are not required to attend all of the workshops or office hours, but they are being offered to accelerate your idea and you should take advantage of them whenever possible.

8. What is the criteria for the Carolina InVenture Prize?
Read the criteria section of the overview page.

9. Can a graduate student compete either individually or as part of a team with undergraduates?
The competition is only open to current UNC undergraduates working toward their first undergraduate degree and Carolina alumni who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree within the last year. You are eligible to compete if you will either be a student in fall or spring of the current academic year or if you graduated in the previous fall, spring or summer. In any case, you must have conceived of your invention while you were an undergraduate in order to compete.

10. Can I enter with multiple inventions?
Only one invention per student is allowed, regardless of team or individual status.

11. Can we attend InVenture Prize meetings and sessions even though we did not sign to compete?
All sessions and meetings are open to any UNC students, even if they did not sign up to register or compete.  

12. Do all of our team members need to be present at the preliminary round?
No, not all team members are required to attend the preliminary round. However, it is strongly encouraged that all team members attend in order to effectively present to judges, have a greater presence and show commitment. 

13. Do I need to have a working prototype to compete?
No, you do not have to have a working prototype or a prototype at all. Obviously it helps the judges and the organizers if you can demonstrate a prototype, but you can always explain your concept to the judges without a fully functioning prototype.

14. Do I have to wait until I register to work on my invention?
No, start working early and often!

15. How will the InVenture Prize competition be judged?
The judging process consists of the preliminary round and final round. Judges in the final round will evaluate how well the inventors respond to each of these five criteria, in no particular order: innovation, marketability, market size, inventor passion, and probability of becoming a successful business.

16. If I am a co-inventor with others who are not current UNC undergraduates, can I still compete with the invention?
Yes, if you fully disclose the contributions by all individuals during the application process.

17. What is the dress codes at the preliminary and semi-final round for student participants?
You and/or your team should wear professional attire OR attire that is reflective of your invention or startup, such as a company/team shirt or all team members wearing lab coats.