Idea Competition

The Idea Competition is designed to facilitate the development of great ideas and help those ideas find fulfillment.  Participants compete for prizes that include cash, mentoring, and engagement in the incubator process to help develop those ideas.

Ideas will be judged publically and by a jury of professionals.  The ideas will be posted in downtown storefronts where the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite ideas. The ideas with the most votes will win cash and mentoring for their idea implementation.

All participants will get to network with innovative peers, sponsors, and mentors that can help make their ideas a reality.  

Competition Rules and Guidelines


We are looking for ideas that make life better for our citizens. The idea could result in a business, but it could also simply improve lives in our community or the world. Start by asking; “What do you as a person want to see improved in our community”. Then ask; “How do you make that happen”. Lots of people have “problems or things that want to see improved”. Far less have “Ideas” on how to make those things happen. The goal of the “idea” competition is to create or find “ideas” that can actually be implemented in our communities. Doing this can fundamentally change the future for both the inventor and the community.

Tech-Prize works within the method of the Business Model Canvas (see The first step in completing the business model canvas is to define the value proposition of an idea.  The Idea Competition is designed specifically to provide a framework to make that happen.

Sources for your Idea

In the 1960’s Racine was identified as invention city.  More patents were created, on a per-capita basis, than anywhere else in the nation.  Tech-Prize desires to replicate that energy and creativity to reclaim that title.  As a first step, Racine competed in and won a national smart-city competition based on the vision of this community in the future.

With this background in mind, Tech-Prize desires to motivate ideas that support the smart-city objectives, we are open to any great ideas that you might have.  Your Idea will be grouped into 3 segments:  Smart City, Improvements to Industry and any idea that you have that does not fall in these two can fall into the “Open” category.

Finally, remember that the SMART City efforts include 3 primary objectives:  Focus on improvements in the use of Energy, Transportation, and Communication for our citizens.

Examples in each category could include:

    1. Smart City – turn street lights down or off when people are not around.
    2. Industry – enable more efficient uses of utilities, lower operating cost, easier to use products, product ideas that open up new industries or business.
    3. Open – create drone-based Pizza delivery at a football game or esports gaming event. Make activities easier for the disabled. Significantly modify an existing product and make it better.

We look forward to your creative ideas!

Participation Rules and Guidelines

Participants can come from any walk of life: Student, professional, minor, or adult.  All ideas and participants are encouraged

    1. Register Idea – Participants will register their “Idea” on the website. Registration will be open through to the day before the beginning of the competition in September.
    2. Personal Mentor – If the registrant desires to engage with a personal mentor, then designate that in the registration. Mentors will meet individually with a participant to determine where they are in the creation process, advise on the next steps and connect to others that can benefit or enable as well.  Full mentoring commitment from Tech-Prize will require an application process.
    3. Idea presentation:
        • Each idea will be represented in two ways:
          • The physical or virtual form that best shares that idea in the host location. There are no restrictions.  Ideas include: physical example, prototype, drawings, Patent applications, electronic representation, videos are all acceptable – be Creative as “Most votes wins!”.  See additional details below.
          • Each competitor will develop an elevator pitch (maximum 2 min).  This can be presented live in person, or in the pre-recorded version via the voting app.  The elevator pitch will be recorded in the voting app and available for review at any time, whether you are there physically or not.
        • Host selection, alignment, and set-up:
          • The match between participants and host locations will be evaluated and assigned by the Tech-Prize Idea Competition committee based on aligned interests and presentation needs.
          • The participant will then work with each hosting location to determine the size and methods of presentation, wall space, tables, power requirements, internet access, etc.
        • Hosting Locations – Ideas will be set up in the hosting locations in downtown Racine on Wednesday and Thursday, September 7th and 8th with voting starting on September 9th.
    4. Awarding Prizes – The competition prizes will be awarded on Saturday, September 17th, at 7:00 PM, on the stage in Monument Square. In the case of inclement weather, an alternate site will be designated
    5. Idea availability and removal – All ideas will be available to the viewing public from Friday morning, 9/9, through COB Sunday, 9/25.  Top 10 vote recipients and award winners will be designated following the awards on Saturday, 9/17.
    6. Juried & Voting Process – There will be two concurrent judging processes.
        • Public Voting:   The public will view and vote  (using the voting app) from Friday, September 9th through Saturday, September 17th. Click the button below to download the App.
        • Juried Judging:  Official judging will occur on Saturday, September 10th.
        • Please see the next sections for details about both the Judging and Voting processes.
    7. Voting App Idea Representation: The Voting App will summarize what is available physically in the Host Location and allow the inventor to share their message when they are not physically present to discuss with the person. It is assumed that people who are voting will see your item downtown, in the host location. That is part of the process that TP is working to accomplish. We are also not seeking to have a competition on who can market voting for their ideas online as well.  This is not an online marketing competition.  Items to be included in the online voting app:
        • Team picture and Bio
        • Short written description of the idea with pictures to support
        • A 90 second video (60-90 seconds is most likely optimum) to overview your idea. This is your “Elevator Pitch” to explain your idea concisely and help the individual seeing it understand it. We would recommend 3 points be made on this. “What” you are doing, “How” it will be done and then “Why” you are doing it. In this, you cover the brief version of the “Story Board” that is available and printed in the physical location.

Download Voting App


Idea Presentation Guidelines

The Idea Competition is the first step in creating the business model canvas to launch an idea.  Your proposal creates the basis for the value proposition of your idea.  The competition has three levels of competition each with separate awards.  Each idea needs to be developed to a point that communicates the value it offers.  A competitor is welcome to take ideation and market evaluation as far as they want.  The following key points should be considered as a minimum:

    1. What is the problem to be solved
    2. What are the existing products or solutions
    3. What is your product or solution
    4. Why is your product or solution better
    5. Who are the customers (advanced competition will address Market)
    6. What are they willing to pay for it

The competition is divided into 3 groups with escalating levels of detail that align with the 6 points above.  Definitions of that detail for each group follow:

College and Open Competition Requirements:

    • Physical or Virtual property or means to understand the idea – prototype thing, App running, etc.
    • Idea Summary: Recommend storyboard format to address the 6 points above.
    • Market Summary: What would the idea sell for; who would buy it; what is the size of the market; how much revenue would it potentially create?
    • How much will it take to launch the idea? High-level estimate of capital requirements
    • Make your presentation “Attention Grabbing” – remember, most votes wins.

High School Competition Requirements:

    • Physical or Virtual property or means to understand the idea – simple prototype, drawings, or mockup of App, etc.
    • Idea Summary: Recommend storyboard format to address the 6 points above.
    • Make your presentation “Attention Grabbing” – remember, most votes wins.

Elementary & Middle School Requirements:

    • Physical or Virtual property or means to understand the idea – Sketch or simple model example in a descritive format.
    • Idea Summary: Recommend simple storyboard or 1 page summary format to address points 1-5 above.
    • Make your presentation “Attention Grabbing” – remember, most votes wins.

Judging & Voting Standards

The Idea Competition will be judged through two mechanisms.

    1. Public Voting
    2. Juried Judging

Final awards will be based on the combined findings of public and juried voting.

How does Public Voting work ?

    • Ideas will be set-up and presented in downtown Racine locations for judging by the general public and voting that will occur on the “Tech-Prize Idea App”
    • The public will be voting on their favorite ideas. Any individual my vote on your idea as their favorite.  The most votes in the voting App during the competition wins.  See the Public Voting Criteria table for details.
    • Voting will be geo-fenced so that a person must be in the Racine community to vote.
    • Votes for an individual idea will be restricted to 1 vote for the downloaded App. You can vote for multiple ideas that are believed to be strong and implementable
    • Innovators are welcome to be physically present with their idea presentation to answer questions, discuss the idea with potential investors, etc.
    • Voting will be closed on Saturday, 9/17 at 4:00 PM for tabulation and winner selection
    • Awards will be presented on Saturday, 9/17, at 7:00 PM on the main stage on Monument Square in Racine WI. In the case of a “Tie”, the awards for those tied will be accumulated and shared evenly between the award winners

Download Voting App


How Does Juried Voting Work?

A group of industry and innovation professionals will make up the Jury.  They will review all ideas on Saturday, September 10th.

Judges will consider each idea using a common level-appropriate criteria as follows:

    1. Will the idea work
        • Is the product or service usable, safe, manufacturable and can it be reliable?
        • Are there any applicable regulations that might impact?
        • How unique is the idea?
    2. Will the idea impact the world?
        • Does the idea solve a smart-city challenge?
        • Does the idea solve an environmental challenge?
        • Does the idea solve a social challenge?
    3. Is the idea commercially or socially viable?
        • Do we believe that people will buy and use the product or service?
    4. Quality of representation of the idea
        • Does the presentation of the idea provide a clear and reasonable solution to the stated problem?
        • Is the way the product is presented clear, effective, or creative?
    5. Would you (the judge) personally invest in the idea
        • Would you actually invest for equity in the company if offered?

What are the awards?

Prizes are award to each team as a group.  Each team can determine how the prize winnings are distributed in their team.

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Register Here!

The registration for the Idea Competition is now open!

Grow Your Entrepreneurial Skills!

Tech-Prize offers Tech-Shop & Biz-Shop webinars several times each month to share valuable knowledge that entrepreneurs need in order to mature their ideas and to prepare to pitch to Investors.  Showcasing topic experts from around the country, this amazing library grows every week and designed specifically for your needs as a budding or experienced entrepreneur!

Click the video below to see an example, visit our Past Events page to see more recorded sessions.

“The Tech-Prize competition has been an experience that taught me more than I could ever imagine by allowing me to fall forward…an environment like this is priceless.”

Idea & Pitch Competition Participants

Achuyt & Ethan

Founders, ZenTech Personal Safety Technology

Tech-Prize 2022 will have Seven Trac's

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Tech-Prize's well-thought-out process

The Tech-Prize Experience(TM) brings the wisdom and in-the-trenches experience of dozens of successful entrepreneurs to help your idea find fulfillment. See the article for more details.

The Tech-Prize Experience(TM)

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Tech-Prize 2022 Sponsors & Donors

We wish to thank our fabulous Sponsors & Donors without whom, Tech-Prize would not happen!

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Register Here!

The registration for the Idea Competition is now open!