Presentation Guidelines

Participants present their idea by means of a poster board that explains the idea and its value. The poster board should be self-explanatory and should communicate the essence of the idea to the audience and judges.
Participants are encouraged to support their poster board display with:

  • models or prototypes of the product
  • computer displays
  • demonstrations or
  • any form of visual display to help the audience and judges fully understand the value and utility of the product, process or service.


The entries will be judged in multiple competition categories:

  • First prize: Best Overall Innovation
  • Second prize: Best Overall Innovation
  • Third prize: Best Overall Innovation
  • Special Category Award #1: People’s Choice Award
  • Special Category Award #2: Best Elevator Pitch
  • and more special category awards

Preparing a Poster Board

  • A free-standing poster board (max. dimensions: 36 x 48 inches)
  • We recommend a two-fold poster board, as shown in the picture below (this is the Hunt ExecutivePro Display Board):

Two-fold poster board with text and images.

  • Add your start-up company’s (project’s) name in large font at the top of the board
  • Include a headline that says what the company (project) does.
  • Include photographs, charts, graphics or designs related to the product and display them on the poster board. Blow them up so that they are visible.

The poster board should also include the following:

  1. Clear explanation of the product/service concept
  2. Its potential customers/users and expected market size
  3. The benefit/value of the concept to users
  4. The uniqueness of the concept and its competitive edge
  5. The feasibility of the concept

Download Template of the poster board presentation [ppt]

Protecting Intellectual Property

Even though you are exhibiting an early-stage idea, you want to make sure that you do not present anything in your exhibit that will compromise your right to use or pursue the idea in the future. The issue is obvious if you have a technology idea and you want to be able to pursue a patent. The issue can also arise, though, if you have a product name that you might want to seek to be designated as a trade mark. Also, if you have a business idea that will compete based on some special knowledge or business operation (a trade secret), you do not want to give away your “secret sauce” that differentiates your business. The paragraphs below give you some thoughts on how to stay protected.

If you have a technology or process that might be patentable (or might be copyrighted if it is software)

You do not want to display enough about your technology or process that it becomes considered to be in the public domain.

Do not include drawings, diagrams, or descriptions that show the unique nature or workings of your product or process. You can say what it does – the benefits it provides, for example – but keep secret how it accomplishes this.

If you have software, do not exhibit any code.

If you have named a product or service with a special name or symbol

You want to indicate that you intend to use this as a brand. You can follow the brand name with the symbol “™” to indicate it is yours, it is original, and that you intend to do business with this name. Later, if you want to pursue this business, you will need to file to register your brand name with the appropriate jurisdictions: states or the federal government, depending on whether you will be doing business across state lines.

If you have designed your business idea around trade secrets

You will need to maintain the secrecy of your key ideas that create your differentiation. In your exhibit, do not be specific about things that, if copied by competitors, will cost you your competitive edge.

If you have an idea you intend to pursue that might meet the criteria above

Check with the SJSU Office of Graduate Studies and Research to learn about procedures for determining whether SJSU has an ownership interest. The university has the expertise and experience to assist you in assessing commercialization and determining whether you might have issues related to protecting Intellectual Property.

SVIC Community

We are delighted to provide a forum for posting innovative ideas, sharing thoughts and interacting with others. The opinions and viewpoints expressed in the comments are those of the individuals themselves, and do not reflect the perspectives of the SVIC Director.

The goal is to provide an online community where members with diverse views, perspectives, and ideas can share information, and can interact with one another. Any comments shared on this website may be used in the SVIC website and marketing collateral.

Please read through the SVIC community guidelines

Be Respectful

It is okay to disagree with others but insulting, degrading, or putting down individuals and/or their ideas will not be tolerated. Comments that use obscenities, personal insults, ethnic slurs or other disparaging language will be deleted.

Links to Other Websites

SVIC is NOT responsible for the content of any linked website, or any link contained in a linked website, or any changes or updates to such websites. Please note that SVIC is not responsible for the privacy practices of such other websites.

Document, Video and Photo Sharing

The SVIC community is a place for individuals to share ideas, documents, and resources. We encourage individuals to share documents, photos and videos that specifically provide information about your innovative idea. Please be aware t hat uploading documents, photos and videos, you are giving permission to others to view and use your documents.

Monitored Comments

Comments will be monitored to preserve the spirit of an open, interactive discussion without offending participants. The SVIC Director and community moderator wish to foster a sociable and comfortable learning environment. All posts will be treated with respect and courtesy.

The SVIC Director reserves the right to delete any inappropriate comments at any time

Questions and concerns?
Any concerns and/or questions regarding SVIC can be emailed directly to the Director through