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Luis Menera Rocha (BS Aerospace EngineeringLuis Menera Rocha (BS Aerospace Engineering) at the SVIC 2016 Finalist Showcase. His innovation SetupVideos generates easy-to-follow internet videos from traditional instruction or assembly manuals.


Step 1: Concept Design

Download the concept design worksheets and begin putting your ideas down on paper. Visit the IDEA Lab (Student Union East) if you need assistance in building or structuring your ideas. Club members provide many useful tips and valuable initial end-user feedback.

Tip: Do your research (perhaps perform a SWOT analysis) and familiarize yourself with the SVIC judging criteria. Our judges are seasoned industry professionals. They will become easily annoyed if a student claims the product is “the only one of its kind on the market” but a quick Google search reveals over 500 hits.

Intellectual Property Protection: Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to learn the best method of protecting your intellectual property. Avoid exhibiting content at the SVIC Finalist Showcase that will compromise your right to use or pursue the idea in the future.

Patentable or Copyright Technology, Process, or Software: Avoid revealing too much about your technology or process such that it becomes considered public domain. Do NOT include drawings, diagrams, or descriptions that show the unique nature or inner workings of your product or process. For instance, share the product benefits but safeguard the methods or mechanics behind delivering the benefits. If you have software, DO NOT exhibit any code.

Special Names or Symbols: Use the “™” symbol to indicate your intention to use any special product names or symbols as a brand. Eventually, you will must register the brand with the appropriate jurisdictions: states or the federal government, depending on whether you will be doing business across state lines.

Trade Secrets: Be discreet about any trade secrets used to design your business idea and create differentiation. Avoid revealing information in your submission or exhibit that can be copied by competitors and cost you your competitive edge. Review the University's intellectual property policy and check with the SJSU Office of Graduate Studies and Research to determine whether SJSU has an ownership interest in your innovation. The university has the expertise and experience to assist you in assessing commercialization and intellectual property protection.

Silicon Valley USPTO: The Silicon Valley U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offers a wealth of educational resources for entrepreneurs and independent inventors. Students may also schedule a twenty minute 1-on-1 in-person meeting with a USPTO patent prosecution specialist to discuss the patent process or seek answers to your questions. Visit the Silicon Valley USPTO website to learn more about the services it offers.

Step 2: YouNoodle Registration

Once the submission window is open and you are ready to enter your innovation into the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge, complete the participant and registration forms in YouNoodle as instructed. Only FULLY COMPLETED entries will be considered.

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Evaluation Process: The SVIC team reviews all entries. Those scoring 3 out of 5 or higher (see judging criteria) advance to the online judging round. Online judges are comprised of industry professionals and faculty members who are randomly assigned entries to evaluate. The top 50 entries from the online judging round advance to the SVIC Finalist Showcase to compete in person. Online judging results will be emailed to all participants before the end of the day on Monday, November 20.

TIP: Didn’t advance to the SVIC Finalist Showcase? Keep innovating and developing your entrepreneurial skills. There are many on-campus and external-SJSU competitions for students to consider, and you may enter SVIC again next year with a fresh new idea. Bottom line: your journey doesn’t end here.

Step 3: Workshops

Congratulations on advancing to the SVIC Finalist Showcase! All finalists are expected to present a visually appealing poster board and deliver a brief 2-minute elevator pitch that succinctly communicates your innovation’s value to judges. Workshops will be offered before the SVIC Finalist Showcase to help students prepare for the big day and make a great impression on judges. Workshop topics will include design thinking, pitching techniques, poster board design, and resume writing tips. Details of workshops will be emailed to all participants and posted on our social media channels. Be sure to subscribe to our Facebook and Twitter feed.

TIP: If you cannot attend the workshops, visit the IDEA Lab (Student Union East) to speak with an SVIC team member during office hours. Our team will help you 1:1

Step 4: Poster Board Design

All finalists are required to present a visually attractive poster board to judges on the day of the competition. Posters must clearly explain:

1. Potential target market, segments, market size, and end-user benefits.

2. The competitive edge and innovativeness of the product, service, or technology.

3. Differentiators to any existing competing products.

4. Implementation plan.

Poster Board Template: Download the poster board template (PDF) and use it only as a guide or starting point rather than a template to copy exactly. Visit any office supply or art store to purchase a free-standing poster board (max. dimensions: 36 x 48  inches) such as  the two-fold Hunt ExecutivePro Display Board shown here:

 Poster Board Sample

Tip: Make the posters easy for the judges to read. The title, subtitles, body text, and graphics must be LARGE enough for audiences to read from 3 feet away. Keep in mind that 72 point font is only one inch tall. Poster titles visible from a slight distance are often 144 point or greater.

Enhance Poster Board Display: Judges appreciate seeing a prototype of your innovation as it is often hard to visualize the product or service simply based on a verbal description. Consider enhancing your poster board display with one of the following:

1.Model or prototype of the product

2.Design drawings or professional looking sketches

3.Computer display, animation, or short video clip

4.Live product demonstration

5.Any visual aid that will help judges understand the value and utility of the product, process, or service

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Tim McLaughlin (SVIC Leadership Council sponsor)Tim McLaughlin (SVIC Leadership Council sponsor) listens to a pitch from team LightStop.

Step 5: SVIC Finalist Showcase

Student Union Ballroom doors will open at 7:00 a.m. All students must proceed to the registration table before 8:30 a.m. to sign in and have sufficient time to setup and prepare before judges arrive. Power strips will be available under each table for students augmenting their poster displays with electronically driven visual aids.

Dress Code: Participants are expected to dress in business casual attire. No sneakers or jeans, please.

TIP: Participants interested in networking or job opportunities should consider bringing business cards and hardcopies of a well-written one-page resume laser printed on nice paper. Visit the Career Center to polish your resume or brush up on your interviewing skills.

Office Hours and Workshops
Students are encouraged to visit the IDEA Lab in the Student Union to speak with an SVIC team member during office hours. Seeking help during office hours and attending recommended workshops will help finalists prepare for the SVIC Finalist Showcase. No need to RSVP. Simply come and learn!

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