Entrepreneurial Impact Competition

John Huntoon demonstrating how his BioBilt prototype operates
Mo Jarin presents during the 2023 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.

Mo Jarin won the 2023 Zeitlan Prize at the Entrepreneurial Impact Competition

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 criteria outlined below:


  • Is the idea novel?

Value Proposition/Impact

  • How much of a demand is there for the invention? (people, communities, etc.)
  • How likely is the product/service to meet demand?


  • What is the problem you are addressing?
  • Does the speaker effectively communicate the problem and solution to a range of audiences?
  • How passionate are you about the idea?

Potential for Entrepreneurial Activity (Zeitlin)/ Probability of Becoming a Successful Endeavor (Higginbotham)

  • What are the pathways to achieving a successful venture?
  • What knowledge gaps and barriers exist ahead?  How can they be addressed?

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. You may include an additional works cited page. 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.

Can I still apply if I will be graduating before the competition?

Graduating students may participate in the Entrepreneurial Impact Competition if they are a member of a team with at least one current student. Graduating students are also permitted to submit an individual application that is the direct result of a CEE class or project.