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Chicago Innovation Awards Scholarship Competition - 2015 FAQs

Review the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and start your application!

Who is Chicago Innovation Awards (CIA)?

Chicago Innovation Awards is a team of consultants, entrepreneurs, and Chicago business leaders committed to making Chicago a recognized hub of innovation by igniting a new narrative, strengthening the city’s economic future and building the spirit of innovation throughout the community. Watch this video to learn more.

Why should I participate in this competition?

This competition is intended to stimulate creativity and innovation among IIT Stuart students, provide exposure to entrepreneurship, and encourage collaborative engagement through innovative thinking.

What topic should my submission address?

Your submission must describe an innovative idea that solves an existing problem or embraces an opportunity. Your idea can address a need located anywhere in the world. Your solution must provide a new value, be differentiated from existing solutions, and it must be feasible. The focus of your idea should be on articulating the problem or opportunity you wish to address and how your idea would provide an innovative solution. View last year’s winners and entrants.

What does “feasible” mean in this context?

It means that your solution must be realistic. It cannot depend on non-existent technology or unavailable resources. However, funding, a full business model, and other more detailed information about the implementation of your solution are not necessary for this competition.

Am I eligible to participate?

All IIT Stuart undergraduate and graduate students (M.B.A.; M.P.A.; M.S. Finance, MAC, and EMS; M.M.F.; Ph.D.; B.S.B.A., and Dual Degree programs) are eligible.

Can I compete individually or in a team?

You can enter the competition either individually or as part of a team. Teams can have a maximum of two students. Teams with more than two students will be disqualified. Individual students and teams are allowed to submit more than one idea for the competition.

How do I submit my idea?

All entries for the competition must be submitted electronically through the Online Submission Form. The form will ask you to provide your contact information (and that of your team member if you have one) as well as a name for your innovative idea. You will then have to respond to five different questions that will lead you through a description of your idea. You will have a maximum of 250 words to address each of the five questions, so make sure you describe your idea concisely. You have the option of uploading supporting documents (diagrams, photos, charts, etc.) as part of your electronic submission but this is not required.

What is the time frame for the competition?

You will be able to submit your idea online starting on Monday, November 24, 2014. The last day to submit an entry is Tuesday, February 17, 2015, (the submission deadline for BUS 510 students is Friday, December 5, 2014).

Who is judging the submissions?

The panel of judges is composed of staff from Chicago Innovation Awards, including Luke Tanen, Bryan Brochu, Paul Kitti, and Rishu Mandolia; and faculty from IIT Stuart, including M. Krishna Erramilli, Weslynne Ashton, Christine Miller, Nik Rokop, and Thomas Mozer.

When will the winners of the competition be announced?

Winners will be publicly recognized at an awards ceremony and innovation event in April 2015 co-hosted by IIT Stuart School of Business and the Chicago Innovation Foundation. Winners will be notified in advance of the event and will be invited to present a short pitch of their idea to the audience, which will include Chicago-area executives and industry leaders passionate about innovation, venture capitalists, angel investors, faculty, and fellow students.

What do I get if I win?

Winners of the competition will receive cash prizes! There will be a grand prize winner at the “gold” level and several winners at the “silver” and “bronze” levels. We anticipate having about $10,000 in total prizes so winning ideas at all levels will get substantial prizes. More details on cash prizes will be available soon.

Who should I contact with additional questions?

Contact Professor Erramilli at or Helen Ezenwa, IIT Stuart Career Management Center Director, at if you have other questions.