Briana Whitney/Mustang News

The Innovation Quest competition helped Grinds co-founders Matt Canepa and Pat Pezet launch their company.

Maria Zelada
Special to Mustang News

Have a good idea?

The 11th annual Innovation Quest competition begins Thursday, and will give students a chance to showcase their ideas.

Innovation Quest was founded by Cal Poly graduates and business leaders. It is a non-profit philanthropic corporation with the goal of promoting innovation and giving back to the community.

“If you are a Cal Poly student and you have an idea, Innovation Quest provides you with resources, which are funding, mentors and beyond, to help you take your idea to the next level,” said Chelsea Brown, the programs, events and media coordinator at the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The Innovation Quest competition has been encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship at Cal Poly for 10 years. The competition, hosted this year in cooperation with the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is an opportunity for students to turn their ideas into a reality.

“It was designed to encourage any innovator to pursue any idea that they have, whether that be a start-up company idea or a prototype that they are building, and enter that into this competition and get funding for their project,” Brown said.

Cal Poly students from all majors are encouraged to apply.

“If you have an idea and you think it’s worth putting into action, you should absolutely come out,” business administration sophomore and student ambassador Kaitlyn Henry said. “You don’t need to be an engineer or crazy with the computer.”

“Part of what Innovation Quest does is that there is a team building process — it gives people who have an idea, but not the skills to carry it out, a chance to network with other people,” Henry said.

Henry said she believes the competition is a great opportunity for students looking to turn their ideas into reality.

“It’s such an incredible opportunity to create their own path and to really put these innovative ideas into action,” Henry said. “It has been a launchpad for a number of people. Winners have gone off to make a living off what they did in this competition.”

Winning ideas in the past range from a device to stop postpartum hemorrhage to Grinds, which are flavored coffee pouches for energy and focus.

The competition includes three on-campus workshops. An application process follows, and the program is finished off with a final presentation to a panel of judges.

Awards include a grand prize of $15,000 and access to exclusive resources to help jumpstart their business, as well as a second-place prize of $10,000 and a third-place prize of $5,000.

The first workshop of the year is Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the Cotchett Education Building (building 2), room 206.

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