September 20, 2010

Students can compete in 'Idea 2 Product' contest

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is hosting an I2P competition for the first time, offering contestants who bring their Idea 2 Product (I2P) the opportunity to vie for cash prizes.

I2P, which originated at the University of Texas at Austin in 2001, has evolved into an annual worldwide competition with segments all over the U.S. as well as Asia and Europe. The goal is encouraging students to think -- to conceive the idea for a potentially successful technology-based product, service or business.

Contestants in the SIUC I2P Competition must be SIUC undergraduate or graduate students. The three-round competition is open to individuals or teams of up to four people.

This isn’t a business plan competition. Rather, contestants initially submit a two-page paper outlining details of the product, its purpose, the potential market and intellectual property issues regarding the product. The I2P report focuses on products and services in their very early stages, before they are ready for a business plan. This means the contest is relevant to students from all areas of SIUC.

The deadline to submit entries for the first round of the competition is Oct. 22. Based upon written submissions, a panel of judges will select semi-finalists with notification no later than Oct. 29. Those chosen to advance to Round 2 will have until Nov. 18 to complete and submit a five-page technology commercialization plan and can also include mock-ups, prototypes or other visual aides in their submission.

Entries will get feedback by Nov. 29 in preparation for the third and final round set for Dec. 6. The final round involves 10-minute PowerPoint presentations followed by a 15-minute session answering questions from the panel of judges.

Cash prizes totaling $2,000 are up for grabs. In addition, participants can then take their proposals to other similar competitions and acquire support if accepted. In addition, the SIUC contest offers the opportunity to compete for space in the future at the planned SIUC Student Innovation Incubator.

For more information about the I2P Competition, including the complete rules, look online at or e-mail

The SIUC event sponsors include the Center for Innovation, the College of Business, the Small Business Incubator, the Technology Transfer Office, the Southern Illinois Research Park, the Office of Research Development and Administration and the School of Medicine.