Ideas Competition 2023

Tackling Problems Worth Solving

Are you a current Tufts or SMFA  undergraduate, graduate, or gap year student  who wants to develop  innovative ideas to solve real problems?

Interested in doing it through innovation and entrepreneurship? If so, the Ideas Competition is for you.

The Ideas Competition

Launched in 2014, the Ideas Competition is a pitch contest for entrepreneurial Tufts students to choose a problem worth solving, come up with a great solution, and deliver a 3-minute venture pitch for a chance to win up to $1,000 per team in cash prizes.

Many Ideas Competition winners go on to apply for the $100k New Ventures Competition, the University’s’ flagship entrepreneurship competition in the spring. Some go on to build new ventures over the summer and beyond.

No experience necessary. Get help with your application through 1×1 coaching and virtual educational workshops.

Students presenting at Ideas Competition

Key Dates

Ideas Launch Event: October 2, 2023

Applications open: October 1, 2023

Applications close: October 22, 2023

Full hybrid live pitch event: November 8, 2023 @6pm*


Eligibility, Applications, and How To Prepare

Who Should Apply?

Students who want to develop an idea to solve a real problem, and to learn how to take your idea from concept to a live pitch should apply.

No experience necessary. We have resources to help you learn to define a problem worth solving, ideate a solution that is unique and better than the alternatives, outline a plan to get people to use this solution, and pitch it to an audience.

People of color, women, and people within the LGBTQ+ community are encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Requirements

Students may join as an individual or as a team.

Each application must have at least one core team member who is a current or gap year student (undergraduate or graduate) at Tufts University across ALL 11 schools and colleges.

Students or teams who have already won a prize at a previous Ideas Competition or Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition may not apply again with the same idea.

Preparing For The Competition

We have many resources to help you prepare.


Judges’ Choice:

  • 1st Place — $1,000 (Sponsored by Sam Kessel, E15)
  • 2nd Place — $500
  • 3rd Place — $250

Most Promising Undergraduate Team:

  • $500

Audience Favorite:

  • $250

Judging and Winner Selection

Judging Rubric 

  • Problem: Does the team understand the problem and target customer?
  • Solution: Does the proposed solution solve the problem in a unique manner compared to the alternative?
  • Adoption: Does the team present a credible plan for distribution and widespread adoption of their solution?
  • Impact: How big is the problem? How is the world a better place if the team solves this problem?
  • Applicant: Did the applicant / team  convince the judges they are the right people to solve this problem?
  • Presentation: Was the team effective in presenting their venture?
  • Wildcard: Did anything about the team particularly impress you?