Do you have an innovative business, nonprofit or project idea? Register for our spring Incubator Program and Pitch Competition. Through the Incubator Program workshops, you will learn about the market research resources on campus, how to identify if your idea is feasible, how to use AI to create a business model, and how to pitch. In the process, you will meet like-minded changemakers on campus, and get valuable feedback from mentors, judges and potential investors. Following the Incubator Program, teams will submit a video-recorded pitch to a panel of internal judges who will determine the top 15 teams to compete as finalists in the in-person De La Vega Innovation Pitch Competition on April 20, 2024.
The top 15 finalists will compete for the chance to win seed funding and prizes.
Questions? Email Becca Husar, associate director of Innovation and Partnership Development, at email@example.com.
NIU undergraduate and graduate students from all majors are invited to participate in the Incubator Program, and business, nonprofit, or project ideas from all industries are welcome.
See our “Schedule” section for more information on the Incubator Program.
Teams (one to five members) have three minutes to pitch their new idea to a panel of judges who will be rating it on the strength and feasibility of the idea. Pitch decks (slide shows) will be allowed.
Most workshops and events will be held in the De La Vega Innovation Lab in Barsema Hall.
*Workshop to be held in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. Please refer to the event on the NIU calendar for details.
Note: dates and times are subject to change. Accommodations can be made for conflicts.
|Feb. 20, 2024
"Who are you serving?" Learn about market research resources on campus with Wayne Finley. Then, learn to write a value proposition statement.
|March 5, 2024
|"Is Your Idea Feasible?"Learn about financial models with Tim Michaelis, and how to use AI to build a sustainable Business Model Canvas with Becca Husar.
|March 19, 2024
Join us in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology building to learn about "sprints" within the Agile Methodology framework to refine your product or service, and get a crash course in rapid CAD prototyping with Iman Salehinia.
|April 2, 2024
Learn how to pitch your innovative idea to a panel of judges and investors from special guest, Lucy Brennan of TechRise by P33.
Pitch Competition participants will meet with alumni and campus partners in a speed networking-styled event to ask questions, rehearse their pitches and get critical feedback.
|April 14, 2024
|Video Submissions Due
All video submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. for the pre-screening round to determine the top 15 finalists who will compete.
|April 20, 2024
|10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
|De La Vega Innovation Pitch Competition
2024 De La Vega Innovation Pitch Competition with our top 15 finalists! Open to the public.
Registration to participate has been extended and is now due by noon, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Following the Mentor Roundtables event on April 12, video submissions of your team's pitch must be submitted for our internal judges to select the 15 finalists who will pitch at the April 20, 2024 competition.
By clicking "agree" in the registration form, and by participating in the competition in any way, the person agreeing to this agreement, on their own behalf, and also on behalf of all the other team members that:
Pitch decks, prototypes and physical materials will be permitted at the pitch competition.