The Spark Zone New Product Competition

 

Over the course of three 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, $23,000 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.)

  • Students from SMU, MSVU, NSCAD, NSCC, and AST 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 eligible institutions
  • All students from pre-formed teams must register for the competition (and should use the same Team Name to indicate their team members)
  • At least 1 team member must be from SMU
  • Students from all faculties and disciplines are eligible

** Please note that this competition is only open to students at the above mentioned institutions**

 

 

 

 

January 24:

  • Application deadline.

January 26:

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

February 2 – 4:

  • 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.

February 9:

  • Teams will pitch their product idea and the top eight teams will move forward.

February 10 – 19:

  • Teams will receive additional pitch training 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.

March 28:

  • 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 $13,000 value):
    • $7,500 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 $6,000 value):
    • $2,500 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