Statewide invention competition gains new sponsor and a network of team mentors
The InventOR Collegiate Challenge — Oregon’s only statewide invention competition — announces a new sponsor, Oregon Lottery, that will provide financial support and make statewide employees available as mentors providing on-the-ground guidance to student teams hailing from 17 participating community colleges, private colleges and universities from all around Oregon.
InventOR, a program managed by Portland State University Center for Entrepreneurship, challenges students to think about the environmental and social issues in their own communities and develop prototype inventions to address them. Along the way, they learn about design thinking skills, commercialization, and how to start a business.
“InventOR provides a tremendous opportunity to inspire students across Oregon to think of themselves as inventors and agents of positive change in their communities,” said Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack. “We’re pleased to support this effort not only financially but with our network of employees across the state.”
Oregon Lottery will provide mentors to student teams participating from all over Oregon. That in-person guidance will augment InventOR’s robust series of web-based education modules in design thinking, digital prototyping, and commercialization to prepare teams to compete.
“Our goal has always been to make sure that students everywhere are empowered to see themselves as inventors. We like to say that innovation lives in every zip code across Oregon,” said Juan Barraza, who manages InventOR and the PSU Center for Entrepreneurship.
In May, an initial field of 34 teams will receive support to develop their ideas and prototypes and participate in the InventOR semifinal round. Following that initial competition, the top 20 teams — one team from each school, plus three wildcard teams — will receive $2,000 each to fine tune their prototype for 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.
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 Oregon Lottery, The Lemelson Foundation, Business Oregon, Oregon Community Foundation, JAMA Software, and Stoel Rives.