The Ferguson Innovation Challenge

Ferguson Ventures has partnered with the Entrepreneurship Center to offer a new challenge to students. This semester, student teams will work to solve a problem in the hopes of winning funding and internship opportunities.

The Challenge

How might we maximize the amount of time the contractor’s workforce is performing billable work?

Over the Course of the Semester You Will

Consider Possible Problems to Address

February 2 – February 22

Your team will work together to consider the possible problems the challenge presents. For example, you will consider problems such as “the workforce is often left idle due to a missing part” and then choose which problem to tackle.

On February 22, all teams will present their problem definitions and will receive seed money to start working on different prototypes, designs, and iterations.

Talk with Customers and Develop an MVP

February 25 – April 1

Your team will talk with different contractors, members of the workforce, and other customers to gather insight. You’ll then work with your team to develop an MVP, or more simply, a very basic version of your final product. You’ll launch this product into the market with the help of a mentor and receive market feedback for the next iteration.

Pitch Your Ideas

April 19

Teams will present their elevator pitches to a panel of judges from both Ferguson and William & Mary.  The winners will be announced at Pitch Day.

Some Important Notes

Five Teams Total

Though we will accept applications from anyone interested in the challenge, the challenge stipulates that only the top five team applicants will participate. Take some time when you apply – it will pay off in the long run.

Everyone Gets Seed Funding

Seed Funding will be given to all teams, but those with a more diverse team receive a larger amount. Teams with students all majoring in the same discipline will receive $500. Those with 2 majors represented will receive $750. Teams with 3 or more different majors represented will receive $1,000.

Team Mentors

There is a decent chance that you may not have any experience with this industry. Fortunately, Ferguson will be providing mentors for every team. They will help you in all stages of the project, so your team can put its best foot forward.


First Place: $3,500

Second Place: $1,500

Ferguson Ventures will also be selecting one of the pitches to pursue over the summer. All students who participate will be up for a few internship positions that will focus on making the selected project come to life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Big can the Teams Be?

Teams can be from 3 – 5 members. We will be selecting the top five team applications from the pool of applications.

What if I want to participate, but cannot commit to a Summer Internship?

No problem – just mark down your availability on the form! We will not consider this question when determining your acceptance.

A note regarding IP

While Ferguson may choose to incorporate aspects of any of the Innovation Challenge ideas in future internal initiatives, no team or individual is precluded from further pursuit of their concept after the competition concludes.

What do you mean “diverse teams”?

Good question. In an effort to engage as much of the campus as possible, seed funding will be portioned out to team based on diversity of majors. That is, if each team member is the same major, then you will receive less funding than a team where every member represents a different major.

It is important to note that if you are a double major, either major can be applied to the team registration, but not both. Be strategic!

Can I get an internship even if I don’t win?

All contestants will be considered for a Ferguson Internship! (SO to answer your question, yes, yes you can.)

Registration has Concluded for 2019

Come back next year for your chance to participate!