The Entrepreneurial Challenge
The Entrepreneurial Challenge is a competition held by Sikorsky Innovations to identify and support emerging, revolutionary technology in the rotorcraft market. The challenge provides an opportunity for entrepreneurial companies to understand some of the toughest issues facing the vertical flight community and identify their technology as relevant to one of more of these issues. The Challenge is designed to open a clear communication pathway between the entrepreneurial community and Sikorsky Innovations, with the goal of increasing opportunities for collaboration and novel technology integration into current and future rotorcraft products. The Challenge is open to any small company, U.S. based or international, including newly formed and pre-revenue entities, that meet the requirements defined in the Entrepreneurial Challenge Application Kit.
The winning entrepreneurial team from each Challenge will receive:
- One year free utilization of a predetermined space (anticipated to be able to seat 2-4 people) within the new Stamford Innovation Center.
- One year of free access to new Stamford Innovation Center (Stamford iCenter) shared business services, mentoring programs, and education program and events.
- Participation in a rolling, 3-month long Sikorsky education program, designed to provide both technical and business strategy guidance.
2nd Entrepreneurial Challenge Schedule
The current schedule for this Challenge is as follows:
|Aug 17 2012||Challenge Questions Released|
|Oct 10 2012 (5PM EDT)||Application Period Ends|
|Mid Oct 2012||Final Round Contestants Notified|
|Early to Mid-Nov 2012||Final Round Competition at Sikorsky|
|Mid-Nov 2012||Winner Notified|
|Jan 2013||Winner Takes Occupancy at Stamford iCenter|
Current Challenge Questions and Rules
- How can your business concept enable safe, high-speed manned and unmanned vehicle operations in complex, obstacle-rich environments?
- How can your business concept utilize vertical flight to better serve or create new markets?
- How can your business concept introduce new approaches to preserve, stabilize or heal damaged systems and structures?
- How can your business concept reduce the cost and time of the design-build-test-qualify process for new complex vehicles?
- How can your business concept realize cost savings and lead-time reductions by using 3-D printing and additive manufacturing to produce or maintain components in vehicles?
Application Submission and Questions
Click here to submit your application to the Entrepreneurial Challenge
Frequently Asked Questions
- I’ve read through the Entrepreneurial Challenge guidelines, and I am confused. I thought this was a business plan competition. I am correct that the first round application is only a 5 page business summary?
Yes, a 5 page business summary that conforms to the requirements outlined in the Entrepreneurial Challenge Guideline document is the requirement for the first round application. It is the intent of the Entrepreneurial Challenge to locate cutting edge technologies with a substantiated business plan, and not the reverse. Therein, emphasis in both the first and final judging round is placed on the team’s understanding of the technology and commercialization strategy. No formal business plan will be evaluated by the judging panel. However, all teams are strongly encouraged to have a business plan in place, as that will inform much of both the first round application and final round presentation.
- Please clarify the rule that, “Each team must have at least one full time employee working on the technology. A ‘full time employee’ is defined as a person that maintains standard business hours working on the technology or venture (at a minimum, Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm).” I am a current college student that is trying to start a company, but I am not currently spending a full time equivalent on my idea. If my team is a new entrepreneurial venture, and winning the Entrepreneurial Challenge would allow us to start working on our idea, can we still qualify?
Yes, teams may do so. The rule is intended to convey that all applicants must be willing (in a similar manner to an SBIR grant) to dedicated a full time person to their venture if selected.
However, if you team does not have a full time equivalent person developing the idea, clearly state so in your application and explain the reasons for that. As the Guideline document indicates, first round applications will be strongly judged on the competency of the assembled team, a category that would be given additional consideration if the venture is still maturing. All teams are strongly encouraged to show in their application that their team has both the management and technical experience necessary to mature and commercialize their technology.
- Can international applicants apply to the Challenge if they are willing to locate personnel in the Stamford Innovation Center on a full-time basis if selected?
Yes, any team that meets the requirements of the Entrepreneurial Challenge (as outlined in the Guideline document) is eligible to apply. International applicants do not need to have a U.S. based subsidiary in order to apply. We openly encourage international teams to review the Challenge and apply if they feel they have an applicable technology.
Winner of Sikorsky Innovations’ First Entrepreneurial Challenge