Innovation Quest seeking applicants


Next Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in McHugh Hall room 102, iQ is holding its informational kickoff event. (Photo supplied via writer)

Next Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in McHugh Hall room 102, iQ is holding its informational kickoff event. (Photo supplied via writer)

Students at the University of Connecticut who have an idea or are interested in starting their own business can apply to UConn’s Innovation Quest (iQ) for the 2019 competition.

“The iQ competition provides students at all stages of ideation an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and enhance their ideas through attending workshops, meeting other passionate students and receiving personalized advice from a group of experienced program mentors,” Chris Bruno, the iQ operations manager, said.

Students who do not yet have a solidified idea, but have a general interest in entrepreneurship or even joining a team of other students are encouraged to attend workshops.

According to Bruno, the iQ program first starts with workshops that are specifically designed to help students further explore and elaborate on their ideas while learning some key business and entrepreneurship lessons.

Next Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in McHugh Hall room 102, iQ is holding its informational kickoff event where students can get to learn more details about the competition and get a chance to interact with other potential applicants and mentors, Bruno said.

According to the Innovation Quest website, the kickoff event will give students the opportunity to hear from program faculty, successful entrepreneurs and past participants of iQ.

To register for the kickoff, students may visit the iQ website.

Post kickoff will consist of three more workshops to provide participants with opportunities to meet with mentors one-on-one and gain further guidance prior to the online application deadline on Tuesday, March 26, Bruno said.

Upon submission of the final application, 20 applicants will be notified to present their ideas at the final presentations which will take place on Saturday, April 13.

Among those top 20 applicants, three final winners will be chosen and will receive rewards up to $15,000.

In addition to the top three winners, eight to ten applicants will receive invites to attend the summer InQbator program, a six-week program starting in May, according to Bruno.

The Summer InQbator program is an intensive startup boot camp program where students will focus on turning their ideas and prototypes into businesses. At the end of the summer iQ InQbator program, applicants will get an opportunity to present to investors in Stamford, CT on Friday, June 21.

“Although this program is very competitive, all graduate and undergraduate students of all majors and/or schools at UConn are encouraged to apply,” Bruno said. “Recent alumni (within one year of graduation) are also eligible.”

Of the many past competitors and design projects, one of most notable ideas was YouCOMM proposed by Daniel Yasoshima and Tom Cotton in 2018, according to an article on UConn Today. YouCOMM is an app that facilitates communication between patients and care providers.

“One thing that sets us apart is the hands-free feature that allows people with a motor impairment, or multiple IVs, in their arm to use the voice-activated feature,” Yasoshima said to UConn Today.

The iQ team promotes students to explore the many technological resources available at UConn to help them develop their ideas.

Students in the iQ program may take advantage of collaborative working spaces such as the makerspace located in the library, the Learning Community Innovation Zone (LCIZ) makerspace located in Werth Tower and the OPIM Innovate Lab located in the OPIM Department in UConn’s School of Business, said Bruno.

Bruno recommends interested students to attend the kickoff on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

“One should not be afraid of failure and be open to change as the possibilities are endless,” Bruno said.

Shivani Padhi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at

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