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The Union Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for students and faculty from all colleges and departments to develop an innovative idea for a sports & fitness product, service and/or technology.

The Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in partnership with Union Bank & Trust, invites submissions to the 2017 Union Innovation Challenge on April 6th in Lane Stadium. Union created this competition to inspire enterprising minds to submit innovative proposals for a chance to win cash funding, as well as significant start-up services from Union. The deadline to submit is March 3, 2017.

Potential proposals may span the spectrum of fitness and sports industries, including:

  •      Equipment
  •      Fan Engagement
  •      Stadium Experience
  •      Security/Safety
  •      Services
  •      Training
  •      Food & Nutrition
  •      Wearables
  •      Wellness Applications & Technologies

The top five proposals will pitch their proposals before a panel of esteemed judges in Lane Stadium. The winning teams will be named during an evening ceremony featuring university faculty and alumni, Union and community leadership. The event will celebrate student innovation and the growing culture of entrepreneurship at Virginia Tech.


Tony PeayTony Peay, Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer at Union Bank & Trust

lisa karlisch

Lisa Karlisch, Management Consultant at Sparkfire Strategy


Whit Babcock, Director of Athletics at Virginia Tech

What do you need to know?

What should be included in the final pitches?

Presentations are expected to include at least the following:

  • A clear concept of the proposed solution
  • A basic business case and possible limitations/considerations to your proposed solution
  • A summary of future steps necessary to bring the proposed solution to life
  • A presentation of the proposed solutions’ features and functionalities
  • *Bonus – use a prototype and design mock-ups

*Not required but encouraged

What can I expect from the challenge?

All teams will get the possibility of mentorship and coaching from Apex Systems Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship mentors and faculty experts at dedicated events between application submission and April 6th in order to make their proposed solution absolutely the best! 

What are the proposal guidelines?

Only one submission allowed per team. Teams may contain current undergraduate students, graduate students, and/or faculty of Virginia Tech. Team size is 2 to 5 members.

To submit a proposal, each team must register using this form by March 3, 2017. 

What will the day of the challenge look like?

4:00-4:45pm –  Check-in, Networking, and Poster Session

5:00-5:20pm – Keynote Speaker (TBD)

5:25 – 5:30pm – Introduction of Judges & Overview of the Innovation Challenge by Derick Maggard

5:30-6:20pm – Team Pitches (5)

6:20 – 6:30pm – Presentation of Awards by President Tim Sands, Robert Sumichrast, Union Executives, and Derick Maggard

6:30 –  7pm –Networking Reception



If you have any questions, please contact Brittany Lester at the Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at bmlester@vt.edu.

Are you interested in participating in the Union Innovation Challenge? 

Register Here

You can also attend the Union Innovation Challenge by registering below.

Register Here

Sponsored by:


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