Ideas Competition 2021

Interested in innovating for impact? If so, the Ideas Competition is for you! Launched in 2014, the Ideas Competition is a pitch contest for entrepreneurial Tufts students to choose a problem worth solving, come up with a great solution and a plan for adoption, and deliver a 5 minute venture pitch for a chance to win up to $1000 per team in cash prizes.
Many Ideas Competition winners go on to apply for the $100k New Ventures Competition, Tufts’ flagship entrepreneurship competition in the spring. Some go on to build new ventures over the summer and beyond.
No experience necessary! Get help with your application through 1×1 coaching and virtual educational workshops.
Open to current Tufts undergraduate and graduate students and gap year students only.

2021 Winners

Judges’ Choice Awards

1st place: Relámpago
2nd place: Therrapu
3rd place: SEWA Health

Winning Streak Award: Lumilin Therapeutics

Most Promising Undergraduate Team Award


Audience Favorite Award


2021 Finalists

SEWA Health

Defined Dollar
Lumilin Therapeutics

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

Developing your idea and applying to the competition

  • No experience necessary. Join the competition and learn how to take your idea from concept to a live pitch.
  • You will be defining a problem worth solving, describing a solution that is unique and better than the alternatives, and outlining a plan for distribution to end users so that you can have the impact you want.
  • Jumbo Cafe workshops and 1×1 coaching sessions can help you accelerate your progress.
  • You will complete in an online application. The application will include a 2-minute video pitch.
  • Preview the full application here.

Key Dates

  • Applications open: October 1, 2021
  • Applications close: October 29, 2021
  • Virtual Pitch Event: November 12, 2021

Prizes for 2021:

  • Judges’ choice: 1st place – $1000, 2nd place – $500, 3rd place – $250; Most promising undergraduate team – $500
  • Audience favorite (real time voting): $250

Jumbo Cafe Workshops

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

1×1 Pop-up Coaching

In addition, we will increase our capacity for pop-up coaching and mentoring 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. Coaching will be provided by faculty and alumni volunteers. See Coaching page for details.

Additional support via a student-led incubator

Jumbo Ventures, a new student-led incubator, can provide additional support via workshops and mentorship. Read more here.

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?
  • Adoption: Does the team present a credible plan for distribution and widespread adoption of their solution?
  • 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?

Virtual live finals

Finalists will present their ideas in a virtual Pitch Event that will be open to the public on November 12, 2021 at 12-2pm.