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SVIC 2016 Finalist Showcase is scheduled for Tuesday, November 15 in the Student Union Ballroom. Continue to check back to this website or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to receive automatic updates.




Entering an innovative idea or business into the Challenge is easy. Simply complete the YouNoodle entry form to submit your idea. Follow the step-by-step instructions in the video below if needed. Deadline to enter is midnight on Saturday, October 29, 2016.

Award Categories

Best Overall Innovation, First Place Prize, $1,500
Best Overall Innovation, Second Place Prize, $1,000 
Best Overall Innovation, Third Place Prize, $500
Best Social Innovation, $1,000
Best Global Innovation, $1,000 
Best Educational Innovation, $1,000 
Best Elevator Pitch, $500
People’s Choice Award $500
Best Water Conservation Innovation, $500 NEW FOR 2016! 

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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. Industry professionals and faculty members are randomly assigned entries to evaluate. The top 60 entries from the online judging round advance to the finalist showcase to compete in person.

Day of the Event

Participants are expected to dress in business  casual attire, create a visually appealing poster board, and prepare a brief 90 second elevator pitch that succinctly communicates the innovation’s key features and benefits to judges.

Finalist Showcase Agenda

Student Union Ballroom doors will open at 7:00 a.m. All students must proceed to the registration table to sign in between 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. in order to have sufficient time to setup and prepare for the Elevator Pitch Competition. Power strips will be available under each table for students augmenting their poster displays with a computer driven visual aid. The schedule for the day is as follows:

8:00  Student Registration and Set-up
9:30    Elevator Pitch Competition (Round One)
10:30 Elevator Pitch Competition (Finals)
Noon  Networking Lunch
12:15  Provost’s Welcome Address
12:30  Keynote Speaker
1:00    Social Media Break I
1:00    Orientation for Judges
2:00    Judging Begins
4:00    Judging Concludes and Judges Deliberate
4:00    Social Media Break II
4:10    Entrepreneurship Panel
5:15    Award Ceremony
6:00    Closing Remarks  

NOTE: The schedule for the Finalist Showcase may be subject to change.

Enhancing the 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. Computer display, animation, or short video clip
  3. Live product demonstration
  4. Any visual aid that will help judges understand the value and utility of the product, process, or service

Polish Resume and Interviewing Skills
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.

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Poster Board Preparation

Download the poster board presentation template (PPT) 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 Presentation Sample
(Photo courtesy of Lisa Hearn)

Make Reading Posters Easy for Judges
The title, subtitles, body text, and graphics must be LARGE enough for audiences to read from 3 feet away. Posters must clearly explain:

  1. The product or service concept as well as its value and benefits.
  2. The potential customers or users and expected market size.
  3. The uniqueness of the concept and its competitive edge.
  4. The feasibility of the concept.

Office Hours and Workshops
Participants and finalists may visit the IDEA Lab in the Student Union to speak with an SVIC team member during office hours. Several workshops will be available for finalists to attend to prepare for the SVIC Finalist Showcase. Workshops planned for between November 3-10 include an elevator pitch clinic, poster board design session, and a resume writing and interview skill builder. Details of each workshop including dates, times, and locations will be posted here and emailed to finalists on November 1. 

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Judging Criteria

Best Overall Innovation
Best Overall Innovation entries are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following four criteria:

  1. Advantage. A clear advantage over existing products, services, or technology available on the market today.
  2. Benefits. Effectively targets and defines potential customers.
  3. Doable. The idea can be executed or implemented as is.
  4. Breadth of Impact. The potential market is widespread and                                       adaptable to various market segments.

Best Social Innovation

Social innovations address social problems with novel solutions, and society (rather than private individuals) benefits from the impact and value social innovations create. Best of all, social innovations carry a high "feel good" factor which is what our world needs more of! Social innovation entries for SVIC will be evaluated on the overall effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of the idea.

Best Elevator Pitch

Elevator Pitch Competition entries are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 10 in the following four categories:

  1. Clear. Does the pitch clearly articulate the benefits to the intended market? Upon hearing the pitch, do you fully comprehend the merits of the innovation (new or improved process, product, or service). Zero confusion.
  2. Concise. Did the participant articulate the pitch succinctly and completely? The participant was direct (immediately got to the point), avoided filler words ("um" and "uh"), used professional diction.
  3. Convincing. Did the participant effectively promote the merits or value proposition of his or her innovation? Is the pitch powerful enough for you to take action? Are you interested?
  4. Memorable. Did the pitched make a lasting impression? Are you capable of reiterating the key points or value proposition of the innovation to another colleague after a passage of time? 

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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 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.

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. 

The Silicon Valley USPTO is a federal facility. Visitors must have a valid form of government-issued identification (driver license or passport) to gain access and may be subject to security screening.  

Silicon Valley USPTO
26 S. Fourth Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Business Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM PT.  Closed on federal holidays.


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