The Cozad New Venture Challenge is the Technology Entrepreneur Center’s signature event and encourages students to innovate and create new businesses. To date, Cozad has seen 1200+ teams, 2000+ students, and awarded over $1.7 million in cash and in-kind prizes to participating teams!
Teams are invited to create a venture around a topic of their choice. The workshops, assignments, mentorship, and events guide teams through the start-up process. All teams who submit an intent to compete form, as well as submit all mandatory deliverables and meet all attendance requirements, have the opportuntity to compete in the finals event in the spring. Judging rounds leading up to the Finals day do not eliminate teams from the competition. Failure to meet requirements of the competition do so will result in removal from the competition.
Teams who make it to the finals round of competition will have the opportunity to meet with venture capitalists, early stage investors and successful entrepreneurs who will serve as judges. The judges will determine finalists teams that will present their ventures at the finals event in the afternoon. In 2018, teams competed for over $225,000 in funding and in-kind prizes.
The $20,000 Illinois Innovation Prize, awarded by the Technology Entrepreneur Center and the College of Engineering, is awarded annually to a student on campus--someone who is a creative and passionate innovator, working with world changing technology, entrepreneurially minded, and a role model for others. Students must be nominated by someone such as a faculty member, mentor, or advisor. Students must be on-campus during the full academic year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.