Have you ever had a brilliant idea but decided to throw it out or put it on hold because the timing wasn’t right or you needed more resources to take it to the next stage? Now is the time to dust those ideas off because the BCIT Student Innovation Challenge is back to provide support and funding so that BCIT students can turn their bright ideas into prototypes, business plans, or commercial products.
The Student Innovation Challenge helps to create an inclusive and supportive space for innovation and entrepreneurship. BCIT students are encouraged to submit their bright ideas into their three categories: Entrepreneurship, Applied Research, and Sustainability. Submitted ideas will be reviewed, and the top three best ideas in each category will be invited to make a pitch to industry members.
Winners of the challenge will be announced at the awards ceremony held on May 17, 2023. Cash prizes of $5,000, $1,500, and $500 are up for grabs!
Here are four tips to help your application standout:
The first thing you must do to succeed at any challenge is to read the guidelines. Be sure you’re applying for the right category and submitting all the materials that fulfill the judging criteria. Be clear about why you decided to develop this idea, what benefits it brings to the market, how and what it needs to work, for whom it will be beneficial, in which stage of development it is, and what the next steps are. Clearly identify these aspects will strengthen your submission.
If you think you are not ready, don’t worry, you have time! The deadline to submit your idea is April 16, 2023, so you can recruit a multidisciplinary team to support or cover the gaps you feel need to mature. There is no maximum number of team members, but at least one member needs to be a BCIT student full/part-time.
Another good piece of advice is to gain insights and inspiration by reviewing past years’ winners. Be attentive to the details of their projects and what makes them stand out from others.
Identify your motivation
The brightest ideas usually appear when innovative people identify a problem and start looking for new ways to solve it.
Be clear about why you decided to develop this idea, what benefits it brings to the market, how and what it needs to work, for whom it will be beneficial, in which stage of development it is, and what the next steps are. Clearly identify these aspects will strengthen your submission.
Differentiate your idea
Even if it sounds like an obvious thing, identifying the factors that make your project innovative, attractive, and unique is the key of differentiation.
The differentiation factor is the component that makes your idea stand apart from the crowd, and moreover, if it matches the market needs and demographics. It can be a completely new product o solution, or a specific detail or process of an existing product or service that improves the benefits that users perceive, such as the design in appearance or user experience, the lifetime of the product, a shortened implementation time, or even lower costs.
Remember that even the brightest ideas have higher possibilities of being accepted if they are well presented. Your submission must be clear, detailed, and comprehensive. After developing all the information, take a minute to oversee your project as an investor. Ask yourself if it has: all the data you may need; a detailed description of why your team members are experts in their field; persuasive wording and data to sway the audience; well-proved feasibility; and the required steps to move the idea closer to completion.
Finally, don’t forget to review the details of your submission, from the content edition to the spelling and grammatical check. Remember this is the first contact between your bright idea and the judges, so let it be one that stands out from other innovative ideas.
2023 is around the corner, and there’s nothing better than starting a new year by turning your bright idea into reality. Begin by reading the category guidelines for applying to the 2023 BCIT Student Innovation Challenge and be sure you follow the above tips.