Franklin Innovation Challenge

Sponsored by Franklin & Marshall’s Entrepreneurship Club   

Franklin Innovative Challenge

About FIC

Franklin Innovation Challenge Concept

The FIC started as an idea over lunch among Professors Trex Proffitt, Bryan Stinchfield and Keith W. Jones '89 (F&M Executive in Residence and Harris Fellow) in December 2010. Our idea was to foster innovation and entrepreneurship at F&M as the perfect complement to the outstanding liberal arts education F&M provides its students. Long-term, we envisioned a school-sponsored innovation center where qualified students could access resources and support for a year while also attending to their studies. The innovation center would include a network of alumni, professors and administrators focused on helping students transform their concepts into a business or marketable product prepared to pursue initial seed financing. The Franklin Innovation Challenge was born as a way to determine student interest and to identify qualified students.

The first annual FIC was a tremendous success, as described in this article from The Diplomat. There were 89 submissions from over 150 students, representing 20 different F&M majors, eight countries and 10 states. The most rewarding aspect of the FIC, for me, was the passion and innovation the students exhibited.

FIC 2012

Hot off the Press!!  See the recent articles featured in The College Reporter http://college-reporter.com/news/890-franklin-innovation-challenge-returns-second-annual-contest and The Diplomat  http://thediplomat.fandm.edu/article/941

We are eager to improve the FIC this year while staying true to the long-term vision of creating an F&M innovation center. F&M’s Entrepreneurship Club, operated by F&M students, has stepped up to assist in the organization and communication of this year’s FIC. We have also initiated workshops for students covering business plan preparation and FIC presentations. Workshop speakers include professors, an alumnus that served as a judge in last year’s FIC and an alumnus in the private equity industry who served as a mentor.

In February, students must officially register for the event and business plans will be due in early March. FIC finals are scheduled for Friday, April 20, on Parents Council/Leadership Council weekend. In addition, the winners from this year’s event will present at a Parents Council/Leadership Council luncheon.

This year we have reduced the number of categories to two: the Open category and a combined Environmental Sustainability/Social Entrepreneurship category. In addition, we will limit the number of finalists to four (from six) and allow one hour for each presentation: one half-hour to present and one-half hour of Q&A from the panel of judges.