Solving local challenges through an invention and prototyping competition for Oregon college and university students to help foster a regional invention ecosystem
The InventOR Collegiate Challenge was launched in 2017 to increase the number of inventors and entrepreneurs across the state of Oregon. This statewide, invention-driven competition awards grants and prizes each year to student innovators and entrepreneurs who use technology to invent the future and solve today’s most pressing problems.
It was created as a partnership between PSU Center for Entrepreneurship, Business Oregon, and The Lemelson Foundation and now receives additional support from state agencies, the Oregon Community Foundation and industry partners.
InventOR challenges teams of college students to take an idea to prototype in 90 days, creating a product with high potential for regional economic impact. Participants include community colleges, R1 universities, liberal arts colleges as well as a medical school.
Select teams receive development grants to build their concepts, accessing industry mentorship, technical assistance, weekly coaching and monthly workshops. The winners from preliminary campus and regional competitions compete for $25,000 in prizes.
In the first three years of the InventOR competition, the number of participating institutions have grown, and they have also expanded their capacity for enabling inventors on their campuses. InventOR finalists have gone on to launch businesses, participate in competitive accelerator programs and win awards and funding at other major entrepreneurship challenges.