Overview and Key Dates


The President’s Innovation Challenge prompts the Harvard student body to engage with issues facing the world and discover ways to make the world work better. We challenge you to solve social issues (equitability, sustainability, safety), respond to the desperate need for innovation within the health and science industry, and other areas that transcend categories. The President’s Innovation Challenge is the Harvard i-lab’s vehicle to support students on their journey to turn their desire for a better world into a sustainable venture.

There will be $310,000 in prize money. Each track will have a grand prize winner and a runner-up. The breakdown of prizes is as follows:
$75,000 – Grand Prize (for each track)
$25,000 – Runner-up (for each track)
$10,000 – Crowd Favorite

Required Actions

December 5 – Submit Participation Declaration
February 6 – Submit 5-page Business Plan. Click here for Business Plan Information.
Mid-April – 10-minute Pitch and Judge Q&A (if selected as a finalist)

The Harvard Innovation Labs’ staff and resources, including our office hours, are available to you leading up to the February 6 Business Plan Deadline. After you submit your Participation Declaration, we will be hosting events solely to prepare you for your business plan submission. When you submit the 5-page business plan, you will be asked to provide:

1) Problem/Impact

2) Market Opportunity

3) Solution/Value Proposition

4) Team/Advisors

5) Go-to-Market Plan

6) Progress to Date

You can preview the judging rubric here.

Challenge Roadmap

October 13 – Kickoff
November 5 – 6 – Startup Scramble
November 9Pitch, Mix & Match
December 5 – Submit Participation Declaration
January 23-25 – Baker Library Office Hours (for students who submitted a Participation Declaration)
January 26Business Plan Workshop (see here for Business Plan Information)
February 1 – Peer Review/Editing Session
February 6 – Submit 5-page Business Plan
Early March – Finalists announced (five per track)
March-April – We will provide programming for finalists, mainly focused on improving your ten-minute pitch.
Mid-April – 10-minute Pitch and Judge Q&A (if selected as a finalist).
May 9 – Award Ceremony. We will announce the winners and runners-up for each track. If your team is a winner of the President’s Innovation Challenge, you will be required to incorporate before receiving prize money.