Provost Innovation Challenge

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What is the Provost’s
Innovation Challenge?

The Provost’s Innovation Challenge (formerly called QuackHatch) is a cross-campus business idea competition open to University of Oregon students of all majors. Pitch your business idea for a chance to win part of a $10,000 cash pool available in seed funding.

We are particularly looking for transformative ‘big ideas’ that can have a significant social and/or environment impact on society. Innovative solutions that address the environment, energy, global health, agriculture and food systems, inclusion and equity, literacy, and smart cities are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Applicants will be assigned one of two tracks based on how ‘big’ their idea. Each track will have winners that receive the following seed funding to advance their venture further: 1st Place: $3,000, 2nd Place: $1,500 and 3rd Place: $500.

Additionally, teams with the best physical product idea can win $500 from Invent Oregon to develop their product further and possibly represent the university at the statewide Invent Oregon competition in June.



Congratulations to our 2020 Winners!

First Place ($5,000): Basking Filter LLC (Alex Balog and Ben Cooper)

Second Place ($3,000): Terran Material Resources LLC (Tina Calvin and Mahfuzur Rahman)

Third Place ($2,000): PowerFill (Chris Cohen)


This competition is open to University of Oregon students of all majors.

This competition is for new business ideas (ideas not created before Spring 2020).

Solo entrepreneurs and teams are eligible to apply provided at least one founder (applicant) is a full-time, enrolled UO student.

All founders included on the application must have an equity stake in the venture.

Expansions of existing companies are not eligible.

Ventures that have raised capital from outside sources are not eligible. Exceptions include funds committed by the founders themselves, revenue generated from the company or funds raised from business competition winnings.

Founders can be on one application only.


Information Sessions:

  • January 11, 13, and 18 at 5:00 p.m. I Virtual
  • January 12, 14, and 18 at 12:00 p.m. I Virtual
  • Learn more about the competition including what the competition designates as a ‘big idea’.
  • Join any information session at this Zoom link:

Application Due: January 24, 2021 by 11:59 p.m.

  • Applications are due by midnight on Sunday, January 24, 2021. Finalists will be notified by Wednesday, January 27 and will be required to go through pitch preparation with an assigned mentor and further refinement of their business model.

Mentor Match: January 29, 2021

  • 4:00 p.m. I Virtual
  • Meet your assigned mentor and review the competition ‘check-in’ guidelines so that you are adequately prepared for the final presentations. Light refreshments will be available for guests.

Final Presentations: March 10, 2021

  • 6:00-8:00 p.m. I Virtual


    How to apply:

    Submit a 1 to 2-page executive summary and a 60-90 second video pitch. Upload your video pitch to a YouTube or Vimeo account.

    Send your final and complete application to Kate Harmon, no later than midnight on Sunday, January 24, 2021.

    Part 1: Written Application
    For your executive summary, focus on the following key areas:

    Describe your concept. What is the specific idea? Who is the customer? What is the value proposition? Explain the “pain” addressed and the solution this concept provides.

    How will the business generate revenue? What are your expected sources of revenue? Why will this concept succeed? Is this a viable concept?

    Market Opportunity:
    Calculate the market size or potential. What will be your measure of success? What is the financial potential of your concept? What competition do you anticipate (direct and indirect) Why is your concept better? Describe the risks of this market opportunity.

    Who is on your management team? Skills, background, etc.What are your anticipated roles?What skills does your team lack and how will you fill the gap?

    Part 2: Video Pitch
    Please create a 60-90 second video elevator pitch of your idea. You may use any format that is compatible with YouTube or Vimeo.



    Past Winners


    First place: Basking Filter LLC (founders Alex Balog and Ben Cooper)
    Second place: Terran Material Resources (founders Mahfuzur Rahman and Tina Calvin)
    Third place: PowerFill Solutions (founder Chris Cohen)
    InventOR finalists: Basking Filter LLC (founders Alex Balog and Ben Cooper) and PopMemories (founder Siam Mohammed)


    First place: (founder Nick Titzler)
    Second place: Noteshift (founders Julia Butts and Dylan Gallutera)
    Third place: Informer (Averto) (founder Harley Emery)
    InventOR finalists: Noteshift (founders Julia Butts and Dylan Gallutera) and Squishy Time (Jackson Houdek, Drew Lemke, Jerry Jiang and Han Wang)


    First place: Chromatec (founder Rishika Krishna)
    Second place: Mod Medix (founders Kaheawai Kaonohi and Drew Balog)
    Third place: Tutortree (founders Eli Ackerman and Adrian Martushev)
    InventOR finalists: Chromatec (founder Rishika Krishna) and Algotek (founders David Crinnion, Tanner Stickling and Justin LeBuhn)


    First place: Motive Mobile app (founders Tin Le and Josh Lyman)
    Second place: LittMitt (founders Liz Olson, Joseph Yaconelli and Chris Ableidinge)
    Third place: Logan Dix, Kim Nguyen, Devin Santamaria and Jason Stofiel   


    First place: Trail Supply Co. (founder Spencer Holton)
    Second place: Duck Feet by MozCo LLC (founder Leila Mozaffarian)
    Third place: Garowr (founder Garrett Roberts)


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