Applications Now Open – Deadline April 21st

Closing The Gap Between Innovation and Market Viability

Entry Form Here

Innovation Grants, sponsored by Columbia Entrepreneurship, aim to incentivize and support the creation of novel products and unique business models.  The grants are open to current students from across the current undergraduate Columbia University student body, with at least ONE founder being an undergraduate Columbia College or General Studies student.

Prize grants of $5,000 to $15,000 are awarded to teams with the most innovative product or business model.  Awards will be granted to teams that the judges believe will benefit the most from mentorship and seed funding.  The expectation is that the program will help bridge the gap between innovation and market viability; great innovations in need of a little help. As such, teams who have not necessary succeeded in the Columbia Venture Competition, may do well in this program.

Closing The Gap Between Innovation and Market Viability
We welcome applications from teams at any stage of growth, including the ideation phase.  The grants will reward innovators that we feel will benefit greatly from both funding and mentorship. Judges will be members of Columbia’s worldwide alumni community and will represent diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging expertise.

Entry Form Here

Rules and Eligibility:

  • Generally speaking, entries from current undergraduate Columbia students will be accepted. Entries from blended teams with non-Columbia-affiliated undergraduate members will also be considered. Blended teams will be accepted if Grant administrators determine that the core of the team is comprised of CC or GS students.  The ruling of the administrators is final.  If a blended team wins but loses its Columbia-affiliated members, the team will be disqualified and will not receive the award grants.
  • Innovation Grants are intended for new, early-stage independent ventures.
  • Licensing technologies from Columbia University is acceptable, but the ownership of the technology or IP must be clearly stated.
  • Ownership of intellectual property and equity shares in the business must not be in dispute.
  • Teams must not have received more than $50,000 before March 1st, 2017.
  • Innovation Grants are for ventures created, managed, and owned by eligible (current undergraduate students). Team members who are not CC or GS undergraduate students must have played a substantive role in conceiving and developing the venture. All team members are asked to state their Columbia and school affiliation with degree year.
  • At least ONE founder must be a Columbia College or General Studies student.
  • All teams must clearly state the role of all founders. Proof of the length of time each of the founders has been engaged in their venture will be requested.
  • In the same calendar year, teams can only win a maximum of $30,000 through the Columbia Venture Competition, the Ignition Grants given out by SEAS, and the Innovation Grants. Teams are allowed to and are encouraged to apply to all three programs.
  • Eligibility is contingent on compliance with the rules listed above. Disqualification is final and cannot be appealed.
  • Teams receiving grants must participate in a mandatory, six month check in with Innovation Grant Administrators.
  • Teams receiving grants must meet with mentors assigned to them and report on progress every two months.
  • All applications must include a statement of how the funds would be used.
  • NDAs: There is no formal non-disclosure agreement in place for the Innovation Grant program. Participants’ executive summaries and pitch decks will only be seen by the Innovation Grant administrators and the judging panel. Neither of those documents will be distributed unless explicit permission is received from the team.
  • Teams should be aware that Innovation Grant administrators will not require judges to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Benefits of the Innovation Grants:

  • Grants will be awarded in the amounts of $5,000K-$15,000K
  • One or two experienced mentors will be provided over the calendar year to advise each winning team
  • Preferential process for application to the Columbia Startup Lab (post-graduation)
  • Personalized Design Studio Workshop & preferential admission consideration to the Design Leader’s Program
  • Consultation with the Columbia Entrepreneurship Startup Law Studio

Important Dates:

March 21st : Info Session & Design workshop focus on Design Diagnosis

March 31st: Info Session & Finance Workshop focus on Sizing Markets and Budgets

March 20: Applications OPEN!

April 21: First Round Submissions Due at 11:59 EST.

April 27 – May 4: Interviews with Selected Finalists

May 8: Winners Announced

Entry Form Here

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