August 24, 2012

Sustainability is theme of Saluki Idea Competition

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- You're never too young to have a great business idea.

Just ask Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the men who co-founded Google as college students.  Now, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is giving its students and student-led teams the opportunity to showcase their ideas for new products or services and win cash prizes in the Saluki Idea Competition.

The contest begins Monday, Aug. 27, as the online submission website launches at  Individual students or teams led by one or more students can submit their commercially viable ideas until 1 p.m. Oct. 4. 

The theme of the competition is "Sustainability in Your Community." Each entry must include a catchy and descriptive title for the project, team names and roles, the "hook" (an explanation of the idea and why it's unique), a sales pitch, a financial explanation and a description of how the project relates to the contest theme.  

Individuals or teams may enter but each must have at least one person enrolled full-time or part-time at SIU Carbondale for the fall semester as an undergraduate or graduate student.   There's no limit on the team size and alumni, faculty, staff and the public can participate. At least half of each team must be University students, however.

There will be two rounds of voting with the first as an online balloting running from 1 p.m. Oct. 5 to 11:59 p.m. Oct. 14.  The top five winners will advance to the finals at the University's Technology and Innovation Expo Oct. 19.  Each team will make a three-minute presentation during a 3 p.m. session and judges will announce the winners at 4 p.m. 

The grand prize is $500 with $200 going to the top runner-up.  The other three finalists will earn honorable mention awards of $50. 

The goal of the competition is to increase the involvement of SIU Carbondale students and community members in innovative thinking and business development while addressing local and global challenges. 

Organizers are even lending a hand to help participants create the best possible team and prepare for the competition.  They've set up a Facebook page ( where you can search for prospective team members.  There will be a workshop on Sept. 10.  Planners will announce the time and place online at  More information also is available at First Tuesday Tech Tran Coffee Talks, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Sept. 4 and Oct. 2, at the SIU Student Center McDonalds. 

More information and the complete contest rules are online at  Participants also can get Twitter updates at @siuctechtran.

The Saluki Idea Competition is one component of the fourth annual Technology and Innovation Expo, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive, Carbondale.  The expo also features a showcase of University faculty inventions, the presentation of the annual innovation awards, a keynote presentation by NASA Research Park director and SIU Carbondale alumnus Michael Marlaire and a discussion panel.  The panel includes a number of experts discussing "Leveraging Knowledge and Technology for Sustainable Prosperity" with John Caupert of the National Corn and Ethanol Research Center as moderator. 

The registration fee for the Technology and Innovation Expo is $25 per person and you can sign up at or by calling 618/536-7751.

For additional details about the Saluki Idea Competition or the Technology and Innovation Expo, contact Amy McMorrow Hunter at or by calling 618/453-4556.