Entrepreneurial Impact Competition

About the Competition

The Entrepreneurial Impact Competition provides students with a hands-on opportunity to apply their civil and environmental engineering knowledge outside the classroom by creating innovative concepts to improve the human condition—and potentially win a $5,000 prize.

Established in 2021, the competition is open to individuals or teams of students at both the undergraduate and graduate level who compete for a chance to win by conceptualizing entrepreneurial ventures that may help fellow students at Georgia Tech, create positive change for the local Atlanta community or impact society more broadly.

After assessing all submissions, a panel of judges will select the finalists to participate in a live competition. During the final competition, each team or individual will present their idea to the panel of judges, who will deliberate and select the top two proposals to win the Higginbotham Entrepreneurship Award and the Zeitlin Innovation Award.

About the Prizes

The Zeitlin Innovation Award rewards individuals and teams for their creativity and innovation, emphasizing the potential of their projects and ideas to improve the human condition. The winner of this award will be recognized for the merits of their concept at any stage of development. 

The Higginbotham Entrepreneurship Award rewards individuals and teams for innovative ideas and recognizes the relative maturity of their efforts. Winners will have identified and tailored their concept to specific end-users with an emphasis on bringing their concept to market.

Attend the 2023 Entrepreneurial Impact Competition

Friday, January 27, 2023
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Students in a classroom

Judging Criteria

Each finalist will give a five-minute verbal pitch of their project to the expert judges and a live audience, followed by up to 10 minutes of Q&A. Each individual or group will be allowed up to two slides to effectively illustrate their proposal. The presentations will be evaluated on the five criteria outlined below:

  • Innovation. Is the idea novel? How does it compare to other ideas that address the same problem?

  • Demand. Is there a demand for the invention? Are people likely to use it?

  • Impact. How big is the potential impact of the invention?  (i.e., How many people, communities, etc., are likely to use it?)

  • Inventor Passion. How passionate is the inventor or team about the idea?

  • Probability of Becoming a Successful Endeavor. Would someone invest in helping make the invention a reality?



Stacy Blakely, CE 98

Blakley is owner and CEO of Douglas Consulting Group (DCG), a civil engineering solutions firm with expertise in a wide range of land development projects in public infrastructure and private development. Blakley is also an active leader in her region and state. She’s participated in prestigious leadership programs, serves on notable boards and was recently awarded the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteering.


Marty Boyd, CE 94, MS CE 97

Boyd is president of Carter & Sloope, a civil and environmental engineering firm that provides design and consulting services to clients throughout the southeast. He has 30+ years of experience in all phases of planning, funding, design and construction of public and private water resource and utility infrastructure projects


De'von Dixon, CE 11

Dixon is a construction professional and general contractor with over 10 years of in-field experience within the heavy civil and residential spaces. As a civil engineer, entrepreneur, startup mentor, and hobbyist inventor (patents pending), he brings expertise in operations, real-world product demand assessment, and patent development.


Tom Gambino, CE 79

Gambino is the founder of Prime Engineering, Inc. Prime Engineering specializes in the planning, design, and construction of: power generation and distribution; petroleum and biofuels refining storage and distribution; water and wastewater treatment; airports and airport facilities; petroleum/chemical process, bulk storage, and transportation; and manufacturing and product distribution facilities. 


Lisa Rosenstein, Ph.D.

Rosenstein is the creator and director of the Charles E. Gearing Program in Engineering Communication, which integrates instruction on written, visual and oral communication into the engineering curriculum. She has decades of experience teaching engineering students how to effectively present their ideas in technical documents, fellowship applications, journal articles, conference presentations and more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can a graduate student compete either individually or as part of a team with undergraduates?
Yes. The competition is open to current Georgia Tech undergraduates and graduate students within the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. You are eligible to compete if you will be a current student in fall or spring of the current academic year.

Can I do anything I wish with the cash prize?
Yes. You can invest in your invention, or use the prize money for tuition, study abroad, or general expenses.

Can I enter with multiple inventions?
No. Only one invention per student is allowed, regardless of team or individual status.

Do I have to have a working prototype to compete?
No, a prototype is not necessary to compete. A good idea that can be explained is all that is needed, though prototypes would be welcome!

I came up with an idea while employed as a co-op/intern. Can I submit this invention?
Yes, so long as your co-op/intern research advisor approves of you submitting the work as your own.

If I am a co-inventor with others who are not current Georgia Tech students or are non-CEE students, can I still compete with the invention?
Yes, if you fully disclose the contributions by all individuals in your proposal.

If I was being paid as an undergraduate researcher when I came up with an idea related to my research, can I still enter the Higginbotham Entrepreneurial Impact Prize?
Yes, so long as your research advisor approves of you submitting the work as your own.

I developed my idea as part of a class project. Can I submit this idea?
Yes. If this was a group project, we encourage you to submit as a team.

The application requires an Entrepreneurial Impact and Innovation Statement – are there any specific requirements for the statement?
Yes. The proposal should be 3 pages maximum, single-spaced and saved as a PDF. If you have further questions, please contact Adjo Amekudzi-Kennedy.

Can an individual or team that previously won a prize in the Entrepreneurial Impact Competition compete again?
Yes, an individual or team may compete again but not with the same idea that won previously.

Can an individual or team that has previously competed in the Entrepreneurial Impact Competition (but did not win) apply again with the same idea?
Yes, if the idea has been improved. The application must articulate how the concept has evolved since the previous submission.