Details & Dates

The WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge consists of individuals and groups putting forth innovative venture proposals. Participants will be connected with tools, resources, and mentors to assist in developing the knowledge and skills to act on their ideas and create value in the world around them.

Consisting of three rounds, the challenge will culminate in chosen finalists pitching their ideas through a public presentation to a panel of expert judges. $10,000 in prizes will be awarded! 

Round One

  • Participants will submit an Idea Proposal in 100 words or less.
  • High potential proposals will be invited to move on to Round Two.
  • Round One resources include:
    -Mentoring sessions in January to guide students in forming their ideas and initial proposals.

Round Two

  • Participants will submit an Executive Summary of their proposal in five pages or less.
  • Finalists will be chosen to move on the third and final round.
  • Round Two resources include:
    -Participants being paired with mentors to help develop their ideas further.
    -The Entrepreneur Boot Camp in early February to gain additional guidance prior to submitting Executive Summaries.


  • Finalists will pitch their projects in presentation format to a panel of expert judges.
  • $10,000 in prizes will be awarded!

Rules of Engagement

  • Must be a registered WSU undergraduate.
  • Each individual or team member has reviewed the WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge rules and agrees to abide by them. Failure to do so will result in entry disqualification and/or forfeiture of funds.
  • It is the applicant's responsibility to protect any highly confidential or trade secret information. Proposals will be handled confidentially. The legal protection of the ideas and plans submitted by the applicants to the Challenge is otherwise the sole responsibility of the applicants.
  • Once submitted, applications become part of the Challenge and will not be returned. Applicants are advised to keep their own copies for reference.
  • All decisions made by the Challenge judges and organizers on all matters relating to the Challenge will be final and not open to appeal or negotiation.
  • The Challenge reserves the unrestricted right to interpret these terms and the Official Rules, and to alter, amend or change them at its discretion.
  • Each Applicant understands that the Challenge's co-sponsors, judges, mentors, co-organizers (the "Challenge Officials") and its directors, officers, partners, employees, consultants and agents (collectively "Organizer Representatives") are volunteers. In consideration for their time, expertise and other resources, each applicant hereby voluntarily releases the Challenge, each Challenge Official and each Organizer Representative from any further liabilities, responsibilities, and accountabilities relating to or arising out of such Challenge Official's or Organizer Representative's participation in the Challenge. Applicants hereby voluntarily release the Challenge, each Challenge Official, each Organizer Representative and Winona State University from any liabilities, responsibilities, and accountabilities relating to or arising out of the applicant's participation in the Challenge.

WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge Rules 

  • All full or part time undergraduate students at Winona State University can participate.
  • Individual students or teams (of up to five members) are eligible.
  • Students may only be part of one team.
  • Each team must have a designated team leader; team leaders must be full-time or part-time undergraduate WSU students for the current full academic year. Students leading teams that are named as WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge winners must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the time awards are presented.
  • All participants (individual or team) whose ideas are selected after the submission vetting will be assigned a mentor for the team. (Mentors do not count as one of the team members.)
  • Although teams should seek advice from mentors, the project, prototype, venture or partnership idea must be student-led.
  • Suggestion: Teams are encouraged to incorporate members and/or mentors from different departments or colleges within the university. Where appropriate teams should consider mentors that represent nonprofit organizations or industry experts with unique knowledge and experience in the field related to their project. All team members, however, must be WSU undergraduate students. Team members may not include individuals who are not affiliated with the university (e.g., friends, family, work colleagues, etc. who are not WSU students).
  • Funds are awarded to entrepreneurial projects, prototypes, ventures, social entrepreneurial partnerships, and university innovations entirely designed and implemented by the applicants.

Presentation Rules

  • Each team will have eight minutes to deliver a pitch before the Challenge judges' panel. These judges will have had access to teams' executive summaries, proposals, and slides in advance. Presentations should be concise, interesting, and outline the idea's innovation, its impact and the team's plans for implementation.
  • Each team's eight minutes before the judging panel is inclusive of time for questions and answers. We recommend that teams pitch for no more than four minutes and leave four minutes for questions and answers, but teams may divide their eight minutes however they see fit.


  • Although only one person presents, you can involve as many members of your team as you wish in the pitch. Play to your team's strengths; for example, if you have a team member who is an excellent presenter, they could deliver the majority of the pitch.

The judges will use the following criteria during evaluations:

  1. Innovation: Does the project identify a compelling need and present a clear solution to a problem? How bold or fresh is the idea driving this product/service?
  2. Impact: Is there potential for the concept to grow? What is the target market?
  3. Implementation: Does the project include a budget, along with detailed plans on operating, funding, and marketing? How feasible is the product/service? How feasible is the implementation of the product/service?
  4. Presentation: For the finale, the effectiveness of the team’s presentation will be part of the judging criteria. 
Enter the challenge by filling out this simple form.