What is the Innovation Challenge?

The Regis Innovation Challenge is in its 3rd year. Our inaugural year was an overwhelming success, having over 20 business ideas pitched in the semifinals and 9 finalist teams being mentored throughout the spring. The businesses competed with ideas ranging from non-profit support for sexual assault survivors to clothing to video production companies. All businesses competed around the fundamental concepts of developing/improving a business to be desirable, feasible, and viable. Three business ideas walked away with cash prizes and work space in the Gronowski Innovation Incubator.

This competition is open to anyone – the community, alumni, faculty, staff and students. Each team must have a current Regis University student on it. We want our students to run businesses that anchor their communities. That is why the Regis Innovation Challenge is different in how we mentor our finalists.

Why does the Innovation Challenge pair teams with mentors?

Mentors are guides, challengers, connectors, introducers, sages, and listeners.  And they help set expectations for the participants to meet.

What is the time commitment for mentors?

We ask mentors to commit to three Saturdays in the spring: Jan 26, Feb 16 and March 16.  The finals are on April 12.*

These 9-3ish days provide overviews of strategy, marketing, finance, legal, and community resources with speakers and presentations.  We also help the teams prepare to pitch. Most importantly, the work time with mentors to identify and name value propositions, revenue sources and the realities of running a business is the highlight of the Challenge.  

We know this is a big commitment to ask.  And we want our students to realize that starting and running a business is about commitment and provide a model that shows them they are supported. We provide sustenance and support for mentors throughout including a mentor kickoff and guidance for each day.  In between the monthly meetings, mentors give direction and occasional contact.

There are other ways that mentors can be involved that require less time.  Contact us to explore.

Mentoring Options - Innovation Challenge

Business faculty mentor

This highlights the mixed academic and applied expertise of our college’s faculty

Regis alumni mentor

Half of all of the alumni from Regis University are business grads and many more have founded, operated, and succeeded in the business world.  They represent how our Jesuit education shapes success and the spirit of lifelong learning.  

A community mentor

The entrepreneurial landscape of Denver is full of vast experience and a willingness to share.  These mentors showcase the power of community and help bring our students and the businesses in the Challenge to connect with our wonderful city and its support resources.

*We team three mentors with each idea. Life happens and sometimes a mentor may not be able to make it.  

Interested in becoming a mentor? Let us know! Send us an email at innovation@regis.edu.

We are looking to pair teams with mentors in the early weeks of January.