Thirty teams of student inventors from across the state will converge in Portland May 17-19
The InventOR Collegiate Challenge — Oregon’s only statewide invention competition — will host student teams representing 17 colleges and universities from across the state for its semifinal competition May 17 – 19 at the Portland State Business Accelerator at Portland State University.
The 30 student teams will experience a three-day invention education boot camp — called Lab2Market — with programs on design thinking, prototyping, and pitching to investors. They’ll hear tips from past InventOR winners and other entrepreneurs and receiving coaching to hone their pitches. The event will culminate with all the teams pitching their inventions to a panel of judges for a chance to advance to the InventOR final competition.
At the end of the Lab2Market weekend 21 teams will be selected to advance to the finals — one team each for 17 participating schools in addition to four “wild card” competitors. Those teams will receive prototyping grants of $2,000 each — on top of the $500 they received as semifinalists — to further refine their inventions and their business pitches prior to the InventOR final which will be held June 28 at Portland State’s Viking Pavilion. Winning teams will receive a total of $25,000 in prizes.
“The semifinal round is about winnowing down our bracket in what we think of as the premier tournament of young inventors in Oregon,” said Juan Barraza, director for student innovation at Portland State and manager of the InventOR competition. “This has all the excitement of March Madness but also gives a glimpse of the economic future of Oregon. We’re seeing everything from self-tying shoes from students on the Oregon Coast to a high-tech livestock tracking system from Klamath Community College.”
InventOR has grown from just a handful of schools participating in 2017 to a truly statewide event with 17 institutions participating this year. Participating schools include Clackamas Community College, Eastern Oregon University, George Fox University, Lewis & Clark College, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland Community College, Portland State University, Rogue Community College, University of Oregon, University of Portland, Warner Pacific College, Southwestern Oregon Community College, Oregon Health and Science University, Western Oregon University, Linfield College, Klamath Community College.
InventOR is made possible with the help of sponsors including Lemelson Foundation, Business Oregon, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Lottery, JAMA Software, and Stoel Rives.