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Final Pitch event to be held October 20, 2022.

1st Prize: $10,000 plus one year resident enrollment at UCF Volusia County Business Incubator

2nd Prize: $5,000 plus 1 year pre-enrollment support at UCF Volusia County Business Incubator

Sponsored jointly by the Cairns Foundation, the Daytona Beach UCF Business Incubator, and Volusia County

Applications for participation in the Cairns Foundation Innovation Challenge must be received by the Foundation no later than 5 PM on September 20, 2022 and should include a 2 to 3 minute video presenting the project. Please note the included section entitled APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS.

Submission by email is required ( Following review by a panel of judges, six or fewer applicants will be invited to make formal oral presentations at the event. Notification of applications accepted for presentation will be sent by email no less than three weeks prior to the event. To ensure quality, all presentations must be presented in a private preparation session before the representative of the Cairns Foundation in Volusia County no less than one week prior to the Innovation Challenge. 


The Innovation Challenge will be held on the morning of October 20, 2022.

Ten minutes will be allotted for each presentation, including a question and answer period.

Prizes will be presented the day of the event.


A panel of judges will carefully evaluate every submitted application based on the following criteria: 

  • Novelty of the innovation 
  • Attributes of the startup team 
  • Size and potential of the markets addressable by the innovation
  • Quality of development plan and ultimate path to market 
  • Suitability for near-term development within a startup company 


  • The Challenge winners must form a legal entity, such as a LLC, to receive any prize money. Prize money may be advanced to fund the formation of such an entity. All prize money must be used to directly support commercialization of the project. Patent filing, prototype construction, manufacturing, and advertizing are some examples of acceptable uses. In the event of an abandoned project, unused prize money must be returned to the donor.
  • The winning legal entity must grant one non-voting, unpaid, observer seat on its board of directors to a member of the Cairns Foundation.
  • The winning entity must hold a board-of-directors meeting within one month of receiving the prize money.
  • The winning entity must keep a separate, accurate accounting of how the prize money is spent, such accounting to be made available to the Cairns Foundation representatives within 30 days of  request.
  • Prizes may be disbursed in incremental payments as pre-determined milestones are met.


Applicants must be enrolled in one of the invited schools or must have graduated within one year prior to the event, with their project having been a part of their class work.

All projects proposed for presentation must be the idea of the student applicant team. They must be commercializable and the presenting team members must have the intention and demonstrate their authority to commercialize them. Applications must contain all of the information described herein, and be completed according to the following format.

Executive Summary

An executive summary describing the venture, industry represented, target market, and value proposition shall be presented with sequentially numbered pages, and shall not exceed 1,000 words, not including supporting exhibits, graphs, and/or charts. Suggested sections for the Executive Summary are: 

  • Description of the venture;
  • Why anyone should invest in it;
  • Description of the key innovation and its advantages over existing/competitive approaches; 
  • Description of the innovation's potential applications; 
  • Overview and size of addressable commercial markets; 
  • Estimate of the innovation's completeness and commercialization readiness;
  • Milestones completed to date (i.e. completed feasibility study, created website, prototypes, etc.) and timeline of future goals; A list of actions taken to date, the tasks completed, and the steps needed to move forward.
  • A list of actions taken to date, the tasks completed, and the steps needed to move forward.

Intellectual Property (IP) Status

A full disclosure of the intellectual property status is required, including:

  • The names and affiliations of all persons and/or entities having any ownership stake in the IP.
  • If there is any IP ownership by any person/entity other than the presenting student team a pro-forma term sheet describing the license agreement and/or other contractual obligations that the student team has to the person/entity must be included in the application. The term sheet must contain any financial obligations, such as royalties, repayment for filing fees, etc. contained in such agreements.
  • If the ownership is vested entirely in the student team, a letter from the school stating that fact shall be included in the application*.
Permission to Present:
  • A written statement from the school that at least one of the presenting team members is a registered, full-time, graduate or undergraduate student in good standing at the school, and that the subject matter of the application is part of the student's scholastic program*;
  • Written permission from the school to present and disclose the subject matter of the application at the Innovation Challenge*;
  • Written releases from any holders of non-disclosure agreements on the subject matter of the application. 
NOTE: Presentation at the Challenge constitutes public disclosure of the subject material.

Team & Advisors:
  • Name of institution and department;
  • Primary contact's name, email, and phone number; and,
  • Additional team members' and faculty advisors' names, email, and phone numbers. 
Note: A poorly written application is likely to be completely disqualified or severely discounted. Take the time to carefully edit it; have your faculty advisors approve it; spell-check it; lay it out with clear, appropriate figures. Do not submit an application without all of the requested material.

Please check the Cairns Foundation website ( from time to time for additional up-to-date information

* The documentation to substantiate IP ownership and permission to present must be a signed letter(s) from anyone who has the power to legally commit the university to a course of action.

Pitch Competition Application Form

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