Iona Innovation Challenge


The Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is excited to present the 6th annual Iona Innovation Challenge (IIC). This student competition gives Iona students the ability to present a solution that addresses a real-world problem

Over the course of the semester, students will not only be able to work on their ideas by completing two milestones (video pitch, executive summary & pitch slide deck), but will also gain valuable feedback by working with mentors from a variety of fields. Students will have an opportunity to promote their ideas, build meaningful networks and garner interest to secure the resources necessary to implement their ideas. At Iona University, we want to make sure that students from all disciplines have a platform to collaboratively explore creative ways to solve the big challenges of today.

Why Participate?

  • Take action: IIC gives you an opportunity to work on and develop an idea and take actions towards implementing it.
  • Learn new skills: IIC provides you with a robust support network to help develop your ideas and provide feedback through online and face-to-face activities (e.g., workshops, networking events, coworking).
  • Collaborate: IIC is an inclusive competition that gives you an opportunity to connect and collaborate with Iona students from a variety of majors and disciplines.
  • Mentorship: IIC gives you access to a network of mentors comprised of Iona alumni, entrepreneurs, and professionals from a variety of fields.
  • Present to Judges: Finalists will be able to present their ideas to a panel of judges.
  • Win BIG! IIC awards a total of $11,000 in prize money to the winning ideas.
  • Have Fun! Take your ideas to the next level. Enjoy the process, meet new people, learn new skills, win big, and have fun moving the world!


Iona students enter the competition by submitting one idea. Here are some examples of themes that your idea can fit into: social entrepreneurship, media ventures, social networking, web/app technology, business technology, service innovations, e-commerce ventures, traditional business ventures, etc.

Prize Breakdown

  • 1st place - $5000
  • 2nd place - $2500
  • 3rd place - $1500
  • Fan Favorite Contest - $1,000  – Milestone 1 (1-minute video pitch) with the most likes/engagement on their video (to be uploaded to the Hynes Institute page) is selected as the Fan Favorite.
  • Superlative Awards - $500 ($1,000 total) Based on idea submissions, we will select two ideas that really standout (ex. most socially responsible, most out of this world idea).

Total cash prizes: $11,000*


  • All Iona undergraduate and graduate students! A valid email address is required to enter the competition.
  • Students can enter as an individual or as a team with other students.
  • Students can only submit one idea to IIC.

How to Enter IIC 2023

Interested in participating? Email us at today!

  • Attend IIC Kickoff Event
  • Join the Iona Innovation Challenge Slack channel for regular competition updates
  • Submit your milestones:
    • Milestone 1: 1-minute Video Pitch on 2/26 @ 11:59 PM
    • Milestone 2: Executive Summary on 3/26 @ 11:59 PM
    • Milestone 3: Pitch Slide Deck on 4/16 @ 11:59 PM
  • Connect with your paired mentors for feedback
  • Finalists will be notified by 4/21
  • Finalists present at the Final Pitch Event during the first week of May*
    • *Date to be confirmed

Watch the 2023 IIC Kickoff Event featuring Mike Steadman!

Submit Milestone 1 Here

1-minute Video Pitch

  • Submit a 1-minute video of your idea to our submission form. The video should address the following components:
    • What issue or problem are you trying to solve, and why?
    • How are you going to solve it with your idea?
    • How is it going to create an impact for your customers/beneficiaries?
    • Who is on your team and who are you working/partnering with (if applicable)?
  • Be creative with your video. You can record yourself delivering your pitch, you can narrate a slide deck (PowerPoint), you can create an animation (there are many tools available online), you can draw out and narrate your idea as a story on a whiteboard, or anything else that will allow you to stand out. Be creative and have fun with the process!
  • Once you have created the video, upload it to as an “unlisted” video (unlisted videos are not searchable and can only be viewed with a unique link) and share the video using your unique link to our Milestone 1 submission form.
  • Resources and useful events:
    • Coworking & Mentorship
      • Come to the Hynes Institute anytime from 9am – 5pm to work on your ideas.
      • Engage with Mentors in our network using the Gaels Connect platform.
    • Workshops
      • 02/15 @ 12-1 Brainstorming Workshop
      • 03/22 @ 12-1 Storytelling Workshop
    • Websites, templates & examples
      • How to create an unlisted video on YouTube

Submit Milestone 2 here

1-Page Executive Summary

  • Your executive summary is about grabbing the attention of the judge/mentor in a matter of only 30 seconds. Only put in the Executive Summary what can achieve this goal, which is one page.
    • Most Compelling Statement
    • Problem Statement
    • Solution Statement
    • Market Opportunity
    • Competitive Advantage
    • Business Model
    • Your Promise
    • Your Ask / Action

Resources and Useful Events:

Submit Milestone 3 HERE

10-slide Pitch Deck

  • The pitch deck is an extension of your executive summary and your visual support to grab your judges (or investors) attention. You need to TELL YOUR STORY, first and foremost. The focus should be on translating your idea into a (business) opportunity, and not on how to fill out a slide template. Again, this is YOUR opportunity to learn how to tell YOUR story with passion and data.

    The following 10-slide structure will help you accomplish that:
    • Title Slide including a one-sentence core statement
    • Problem/Opportunity and some data/statistics justifying the opportunity
    • Value Proposition and why your idea/product/service is differentiated
    • Description of Product/Service including how it works, logistics and/or approach
    • Business Model to explain how you are going to make money (including if it is B2C or B2B)
    • Go-to-Market Plan including simple strategies and a timeline
    • Competitive Analysis including a competitive chart of where the company stands
    • Team including all core members and support partners etc.
    • Financial Projections and Key Metrics including key milestones for development and launch
    • Use of Funds upon award

Resources and Useful Events:

  • Coworking & Mentorship
    • Come to the Hynes Institute anytime from 9am – 5pm to work on your ideas.
    • Schedule time with our peer mentor(s) and our In-Residence team, sign-up HERE.
    • Engage with Mentors in our network using the Gaels Connect platform.
  • Workshop
    • 04/04 @ 12 P.M. Elevator Pitch Workshop
    • 04/13 @ 12 P.M. Perfecting your Visual Pitch Workshop
  • Finalist Pitch Practice Session
    • 4/28 @ 11 A.M.
  • Websites, templates & examples

*As per Internal Revenue Service regulations, prizes and awards are treated as taxable income to the employee, student or non-employee that receives them. The value of gifts, prizes and awards provided to students, fellows, residents, and other nonemployees will be reported on Form 1099 if aggregate taxable payments received by such.

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Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

715 North Avenue
Spellman Hall (4-217)
New Rochelle, NY 10801

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