Ideas 2020

Passionate about solving the world’s biggest problems? Interested in doing it through innovation and entrepreneurship? If so, the Ideas Competition is just right for you.

The Ideas Competition brings together Tufts students, faculty, and staff to solve problems worth solving. Launched in 2014, the competition kicks off the process for entrepreneurially-minded people at Tufts to select and define a problem they are passionate about, propose a solution that brings unique benefits, and present a financially sustainable plan to bring it to the world.

Winners are eligible to receive cash prizes of up to $1000 per team. Many teams go on to compete in the $100k New Ventures Competition later in the academic year.

What’s new this year?

  • Updated application with a 2-minute video pitch. Preview application here.
  • In the 2 minute video: Tell us the story of the problem you are solving and the solution. Why are you passionate about solving this problem? Slides or graphics are optional.
  • Workshops and pop-up coaching to help you develop your idea and tell your story.
  • The Ideas Competition and the Montle Prize will be administered separately this year. Visit the Montle Prize page on the TEC student portal for more information.

Key Dates

  • Applications open: October 1, 2020
  • Applications close: October 30, 2020
  • Virtual Pitch Event: November 13, 2020 • Click here to register.

Who should apply?

Each team must have at least one core team member who is one of the following:

  • Tufts University student (undergraduate or graduate),  gap year student, Postdoc, Research Fellow, Resident
  • Student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts or the New England Conservatory
  • Tufts University faculty, researcher or full-time staff

Jumbo Cafe Workshops

We will be offering practical, one-hour Jumbo Cafe workshops to help you develop your ideas. See Workshops page for details.

  • October 7, 2020  • 12pm: Understanding the Market and Customer
  • October 14, 2020 • 12pm: Developing and Testing a Solution That Delivers Real Value
  • October 21, 2020 • 12pm: Developing a Financially Sustainable Venture (For-Profit… Non-Profit… Anything)
  • October 28, 2020 @12pm: Storytelling Workshop

1×1 Pop-up Coaching

In addition, we will offer pop-up coaching office hours in mid to late October to help you develop your idea and pitch. Individual pitch practice will also be available to finalists who will be pitching live on November 13, 2020. Coaching will be provided by faculty and alumni volunteers. See Coaching page for details.

Extra pitch practice via a student-led event!

Student-organized pitch contest hosted by EAT (Entrepreneurship Association of Tufts), an undergraduate student entrepreneurship club

EAT is hosting a pitch contest on October 23, 2020 to help entrepreneurial students get some pitch practice and feedback, as well as have the chance to win up to $100. This is a good trial run for the 2-minute pitch required in the Ideas Competition. All are welcome – email to apply. The application deadline is October 23, 2020.

Judging and Winner Selection

Judges will select finalists and winners based on the following rubric:

  • Problem: Does the team understand the problem and target customer?
  • Solution: Does the proposed solution solve the problem in a unique manner compared to the alternative?
  • Money: Is the proposed business model or deployment plan financially sustainable?
  • Impact: How big is the problem? How is the world a better place if the team solves this problem?
  • Team: Did the team convince the judges they are the right people to solve this problem?
  • Presentation: Was the team effective in presenting their venture?
  • Wildcard: Did anything about the team particularly impress you?

Finalists will present their ideas in a virtual Pitch Event that will be open to the Tufts community on November 13, 2020 at 12-2pm.  Teams are eligible to win cash prizes up to $1000.