Innovation Challenge

MiddCORE Innovation Challenge

“Although MiddCORE has ended, its impacts on me have not. I now keep a long-running list of possible ‘innovative ideas’ that I wish to explore.”  Esther Steves, MiddCORE alum

Embedded within the Immersion curriculum is the MiddCORE Innovation Challenge, where students are asked to develop an idea for a new product or service, a new way to deliver an existing product or service, or an innovative solution to a social problem.

Working with mentors over four weeks, students learn how to identify an opportunity, cultivate an idea, determine its feasibility, and successfully market their vision to a group of stakeholders and potential funders. During the final two days of MiddCORE, students pitch their ideas to peers, mentors, and invited entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

Post MiddCORE: Where are some of the Innovation Challenge ideas now?

“How are we going to feed the people of the future?” – Alex Bea, MiddCORE ’12

Alex Bea‘s dream to use native insects and create high protein bars gains traction as he launches a cricket-farming start-up soon after MiddCORE ’12. Showcased in Seven Days and on WPTZ-TV.

“I want to be absolutely clear: this is not about me. This is about the 1.2 million student-athletes under 20 who have been diagnosed with concussions during the past decade.”  – Emma Kitchen, MiddCORE ’12

After winning the Innovation Challenge, Emma Kitchen received a MiddChallenge grant to build an online resource and support network for athletes to share their stories around sports related concussions and brain trauma. See the feature article “A Beautiful Mind” in the Middlebury Magazine.

“I have always loved food, and now I am turning that into a delicious product and business: fruit and vegetable based dips, spreads, and dressings with a bit of spice and a bunch of zing to jazz up people’s lives.” Suzanne Calhoun, MiddCORE ’12

After cultivating her idea for a new condiment line during MiddCORE, Suzanne Calhoun was selected to receive a MiddChallenge grant to continue marketing and developing her products.  She worked all spring to refine the product, website, labeling, etc. and formally launched for the summer at farmer’s markets and festivals. Suzanne’s Sweet Savories are now found in stores, restaurants and farmer’s markets throughout Vermont.

Sites DOT MiddleburyThe Middlebury site network.