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College of Business and Economics

Innovation Challenge

College of Business and Economics (COBE) Innovation Challenge is a business model competition that gives students experience in innovation and a chance to practice skills researching, testing new ideas, prototyping, presenting elevator pitches and co-creating with students in other disciplines.

Enter the Spring 2022 Innovation Challenge

The award ceremony for the spring 2022 semester will be Wednesday, May 4 at 6-7 p.m. MT.

The award ceremony for the fall 2022 semester will be Wednesday, December 14 at 10 a.m. MT.

See the 2021 Winners and watch the award ceremony video.

Competitors Package and Rules and Regulations

About the Competition

The College of Business and Economics (COBE) Innovation Challenge is a premier business plan competition at Boise State University and it is awarding $11,000 to the winning teams.

Organized by COBE faculty at Boise State University, Idaho, we bring competitors from different departments and colleges and pair them with the COBE students to help launch or accelerate their businesses.

Successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders are as speakers, judges and sponsors. Their involvement provides invaluable expertise, motivation and feedback for competitors.

We are dedicated to this competition where bright students compete for prizes that can transform their businesses, become inspired by meeting fellow young entrepreneurs from around the world, and learn from professionals, investors and each other.

Competition Structure and Prizes

Student teams submit abstracts and business plan PowerPoint presentations that will be judged by university faculty members and professionals with experience in innovation and businesses.

The competition culminates with an award ceremony.


  • Keynote address from the COBE Inspiration Award winner
  • Announcement of prize winners
  • Four of the top teams will give their PowerPoint presentations


  • Each of the top 6 teams (COBE, international and/or cross-cultural teams (cross-cultural are team made of COBE students and students enrolled at a university outside the United States) will win $1,000.
  • 6 teams (COBE, international and/or cross-cultural teams) will receive the Judges’ Recognition award and each team will win $500.
  • 2 international teams will each win $500.
  • 1 team will win $1,000 for a business plan that addresses plastic recycling.

Application Criteria

Submission Deadline

  • TBD – Submissions start
  • TBD – Submissions deadline

Items to Submit

Abstract –  Start your abstract with a title page that has your team/business name, team members’ names and your school or college. Have a reference page if you have in-text citations. Avoid citing references unless the reference inspired the author(s). Words on the title and reference pages are not included in the word count of your abstract. Abstract needs to be in English, not to exceed 250 word, 12-point Times New Roman font.

Four Elements of a Good Abstract

  • State your objectives clearly (state the unmet need, frustration or gap that inspired your innovation)
  • Concisely describe the method employed in gathering the data processing and analysis (describe your ethnographic and marketing research data analysis results)
  • Summarize the results (concisely summarize your value proposition and other pertinent information)
  • State the principal conclusions of the research (restate what you created and why your innovation is so important!)

Business Plan PowerPoint Presentation – with voice over in English, not to exceed 10 minutes. Title slide must include the team name and team members’ names as entered on the submission form. You must have one slide for each of these nine headings. Put the headings in bold font at the top of each slide.

  1. Problem – What problem(s) are you trying to solve? Describe how big/impactful the problem is. Why this is a problem? Why existing competition is not solving these issues? Create a graph with data.
  2. Customer Segment — Use one table or graph to present your research information. Add numbers and data as to who is your target segment and target market. For whom are you solving a problem or fulfilling an unmet need? Which bundle of products or services are you offering to the customer segments? Who are the customers? Maybe do a character profile or picture. Get this from you results of your ethnographic research.
  3. Unique Value Proposition — A single, clear compelling message that states why your plan is different or your product worth buying. What value do you deliver to the customer? What features of your product or service satisfy your customer’s unmet needs?
  4. Solutions — Top solutions, for example: Southwest has 3 reasons to buy a ticket from them. Why would you buy or switch to your product or service?
  5. Distinctive Advantage — Why you can’t be copied — define the problem and why existing competition is not solving these issues?
  6. Key Activities and Metrics — What key activities does your value propositions require? What are the most important activities — such as distribution channels or customer relationships — for your company to operate successfully?
  7. Channels — What is the path to your customers? You could draw a diagram. What are your distribution channels? How are you going to reach your customers? Through which channels do your customers want to be reached? Which ones work best? Which are the most cost-effective?
  8. Costs Structure and Revenue Steams — Describe and address the financials. These may be estimates. Are they realistic? What is the customer currently paying and what are they willing to pay? How and where are you going to generate revenue from your product? How much revenue do you think your product or service will earn? Is this a one-time payment or recurring payments?
  9. Conclusion — What are your next steps? Have you networked or consulted with experts? Who are they? Explain what they thought of your product or service. What are your product’s strengths?

Judging Criteria

Your team will also be judged on the following:

  • How strong and confident is your team?
  • How confident is your team in your product or service?
  • Did your team solve the problem?
  • Is your team passionate and inspiring?
  • Are your slides clean and easy to understand? Spelling, grammar and formatting will be taken into consideration.
  • Did you communicate clearly?

Qualification Requirements

All Competitors

  1. Only officially registered students  —  name submitted on the form — can receive prize money.
  2. Each team may have a maximum of 10 students.
  3. Competitors may consult others university students in producing their business plan without adding them to their team (unless other considerations are communicated by the program director).
  4. Abstract and business plan PowerPoint must be received electronically by the submission deadline.
  5. Competitors may submit more than one entry per competition year.
  6. Students are permitted to be on more than one team.
  7. The majority of the makeup of the team will be the deciding factor for whether you will be in the undergraduate or MBA competition.
  8. We reserve the right to disqualify any entry that we, in our sole and absolute discretion, determine not fit within the parameters of the challenge.
  9. Competitors are required to acknowledge via the entry form that they have read, understand and agree to the terms and conditions in the Qualifications and Rules and Regulations. Submissions will not be considered without this acknowledgment.

College of Business and Economics Teams

  1. The COBE Innovation Challenge is open to students enrolled in the College of Business and Economics (COBE) at Boise State University with at least 6 credits in the current academic year.
  2. International students may be included on a COBE team.
  3. The team must be 50% or more COBE business students.
  4. Teams may have members from other colleges within Boise State University. These other members must be enrolled in at least 8 credits or be a Boise State University Ph.D. student.

International Teams

  1. International students can enter a team.
  2. Internal teams must have a faculty sponsor from an invited university.
  3. The university sponsor needs to complete the team’s submission.
  4. The submission must include the sponsor’s name, university, title and email address along with the team members’ names, email addresses and address (prize money will be mailed).
  5. International teams must be 50% or more business students enrolled with at least 6 credits in the current academic year.

Format Requirements

  • Submissions must be written in English.
  • Abstracts must be typed, single spaced with minimum one-inch margins and minimum 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
  • Abstracts and PowerPoint presentations must be presented in a concise, professional and coherent manner.
  • Spelling, grammar and formatting will be taken into consideration.
  • Competitors’ names must be included on the front cover page of their abstracts and PowerPoint presentations.

Other Considerations


There are no submission fees or costs to submit a business plan to the COBE Innovation Challenge.


Teams award winners must be present to accept their award at the COBE Innovation Challenge virtual award ceremony.


The COBE Innovation challenge and our generous sponsors are proud to organize this premier event.

Key Competition Dates

  • TBD – Open for submissions
  • TBD – Closed for submissions
  • TBD – Contest Award Ceremony. Winners will be announced! Teams must be logged into the award ceremony to win.

Rules and Regulations - Intellectual Property and Confidentiality

  1. The ownership of business plans and any related intellectual properties will remain with the participating teams. The cash and non-cash prizes do not represent any stake in the proposed business.
  2. The responsibility for protecting the intellectual property lies with each team. The Competition Committee suggests teams exclude highly sensitive or proprietary information from their business plans and presentations if they are concerned about the confidentiality of the material. Competitors should be aware that their business plans may be viewed by competitor coordinators, judges coordinators, judges and co-chairs. Additionally, presentations will be open to the public.
  3. Teams understand that by submitting an application and otherwise participating in the competition, teams may be waiving various rights including, without limitation, rights to confidentiality or intellectual property rights, to the application and/or any material associated therewith such as presentations, pitches, or other material. Teams further understand that by submitting an application, teams may be making public disclosure of intellectual property.

Rules and Regulations - Disqualification

  • Plagiarism, copyright infringement, and intellectual property theft is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification. In no way should any part of the business plan or related documents originate from a professional source.
  • Sharing business plans or conferring unethically with other competitors is strictly forbidden, and may result in disqualification.
  • Contacting any of the judges prior to the competition may result in disqualification.
  • Judges may contact teams to inquire about the extent and involvement of each team member and/or external parties. Upon request, teams are required to provide reasonable evidence that all external assistance involved with the development of the submission was limited to consulting/advising (i.e. teams must demonstrate that they are the primary founders of the business concept).
  • Teams who are found to be competing through as an undergraduate student for an organization for which they took no role in founding, will be disqualified.

Frequently Asked Questions


Contact our program director, Christy Suciu at


No, the money will be given to the winning team and it is up to the team members to decide how they spend it.


You can change the team members before you submit to the competition. The team members that you include on your team submission to the competition will be your final team members.


Your innovation can be an idea, in development, or an early stage start-up with or without sales. Be prepared to explain your business plan that you submitted.


There will be a total of $TBD in competition money awarded. The most a team can win is $1000.




There is no fee to enter the COBE Innovation Challenge.

Our Team - Contact Us

Thank you for your interest in COBE Innovation Challenge. If you have any questions, contact our program director.

Christy Suciu, program director

Marlayna Boice, event services
Miranda Cotten, judges coordinator
Alessandra Denning, program coordinator
Sarah Haight, engineering capstone coordinator
Loraine Hand
, procurement
Corbin Harp, prize coordinator
Gage Josi, donor relations
Peter McLuskie, Ph.D., international judge
Sam Pence, graphics
Jordan Srour Ph.D., international affiliate
Jakob Wachter,
event services
Allison Wilde, website coordinator

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