The Spark Zone New Product Competition

Over the course of two months, student teams will create a new product in the sustainable retail sector. You are tasked with developing a minimum viable product (MVP) and bringing it to market. Your team consists of yourself and up to three other ambitious students; collectively, you will brainstorm, validate your idea, and talk to potential customers. Once you develop a clearer understanding of your concept through customer discovery, you will create your MVP. Once the MVP is created, you will pitch your new creation for funding and prizes! This year, up to $33,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs!

The New Product Competition is an opportunity to:

  • Start a business a safe and supportive environment
  • Learn the process of creating a new product and taking it to market
  • Gain important skills in market assessment, new product and prototype development, and 3D design
  • Access free resources that would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars
  • Create a product that can become the “next big thing” in retail
  • Showcase your creative and innovative skills
  • Improve sustainability within the retail sector
    • ex. Create a green product that spawns a new sub-industry in retail, create a retail product that is fundamentally environmentally friendly, etc.)

 

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED FOR THE 2018 NEW PRODUCT COMPETITION

  • Students from any post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia are eligible to participate
  • Teams of 1-4 students can sign-up or individuals can sign-up and then join/form a team if they choose
  • Students who join as a pre-formed team must all be from post-secondary institutions (unless otherwise approved)
  • All students from pre-formed teams must register for the competition (and should use the same Team Name to indicate their team members)
  • Students from all faculties and disciplines are eligible

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 31:

  • Application deadline.

February 1:

  • Students will be notified if they have qualified for the program.

February 9 – 11:

  • Students will participate in a prototype hack to open the competition.
  • Students mingle and either form their own teams or be placed into selected teams (each team must have one student from SMU).
  • Students receive training on ideation, the Business Model Canvas, market analysis, new product development, engineered product design, crowdfunding, go-to-market strategy, and pitching.
  • Teams will pitch their product idea and the top eight teams will move forward.

February 12 – 19:

  • Teams will receive additional pitch training material and are expected to begin validating their idea with potential customers.

February 20 – 22:

  • Teams will pitch during the Starting Point Student Entrepreneurship Conference. The top four teams will then be announced and will move forward.

February 23 – March 27:

  • Teams will receive training on basic CAD skills
  • Teams will prototype their ideas (all prototyping will be produced by NOVACAD Systems).
  • Teams will film product profile videos to promote their product on social media (all videos will be shot by Maxwell Poole Video Productions).
  • Teams will receive social media training to leverage and grow their campaigns.
  • Teams will compete to have the most online email sign-ups (votes) that will be taken into consideration when calculating a winner.

April 4:

  • Teams will participate in a final event where they have the opportunity to pitch their new product idea to students and judges.
  • To determine the winner of the New Product Competition, each team will be graded on a balanced scorecard that factors in scores from the judges, live ballot casting, and online engagement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every student will have the opportunity to interact with mentors/coaches, and attend sessions that will teach them how to create and launch new products in the market.

  • 1st Place (up to $15,500 value):
    • $10,000 in accessible seed funding
    • $500 cash per team member
    • The opportunity to meet with investors and buyers from retail companies
    • Free entry to the Starting Point Student Entrepreneurship Conference
    • Group dinner with a leading retail entrepreneur
    • 3D printed prototype of your new product
    • Basic WordPress website for your new business
    • 60 second promotional video for your new business
    • Logo for your new business
    • Business cards (design and printing of 50 cards per team member)
    • Professional headshot for each team member
    • Legally binding shareholders agreement for your new business
    • Accounting and branding consultations
  • 2nd Place (up to $8,500 value):
    • $5,000 in accessible seed funding
    • The opportunity to meet with investors and buyers from retail companies
    • Free entry to the Starting Point Student Entrepreneurship Conference
    • Group dinner with a leading retail entrepreneur
    • 3D printed prototype of your new product
    • Basic WordPress website for your new business
    • 60 second promotional video for your new business
    • Logo for your new business
    • Business cards (design and printing of 50 cards per team member)
    • Professional headshot for each team member
    • Legally binding shareholders agreement for your new business
    • Accounting and branding consultations
  • 3rd & 4th Place (up to $3,500 value):
    • The opportunity to meet with investors and buyers from retail companies
    • Free entry to the Starting Point Student Entrepreneurship Conference
    • Group dinner with a leading retail entrepreneur
    • 3D printed prototype of your new product
    • Basic WordPress website for your new business
    • 60 second promotional video for your new business
    • Logo for your new business
    • Business cards (design and printing of 50 cards per team member)
    • Professional headshot for each team member
    • Legally binding shareholders agreement for your new business
    • Accounting and branding consultations
  • 5th to 8th Place (up to $500 value):
    • Opportunity to meet with investors and buyers from retail companies
    • Free entry to the Starting Point Student Entrepreneurship Conference
    • Logo for your new business
    • Business cards (design and printing of 50 cards per team member)
    • Professional headshot for each team member