Five student teams advanced from the preliminary round of the Innovation Challenge competition in UMass Amherst’s Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship and will move on to compete in the final round on May 3. They will now compete to win up to $65,000 in equity-free funding.
The Innovation Challenge is a two-part competition designed to assist and reward UMass students and young alumni (Graduates of the Last Decade, also known as GOLD) pursuing novel ideas and developing them into scalable, impactful ventures. The preliminary round on April 5 featured 20 student innovators (with backgrounds spanning across most of the UMass Amherst colleges) competing for a spot in the final round. Three celebrity judges helped choose the winning ventures: Lenny Underwood, serial entrepreneur; April Deluca, human resources executive; and Emily Reichman, venture capital fund founder.
Berthiaume Center Executive Director Gregory Thomas said, “The semifinal is one of the most exciting and power-packed days. We start at 9 a.m. and work until 6 p.m. with very few breaks, listening to pitches, encouraging the ventures, and assessing their potential and where we can help. It is where the rubber meets the road.”