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More tips about $10K student pitch contest

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We have received a variety of questions from Montclair State students as they prepare their entries for our pitch contest, or consider whether to apply. We post all of these questions on our blog, so every student has an equal chance to know the answers. Read the first Q&A post. Read the original post explaining all the rules. Don’t miss your chance to enter the Bright Ideas Inventors Day for Aspiring Entrepreneurs $10,000 student team pitch contest!

Here are the latest questions we have received, and the answers. Have a question? Email us at:

Q: Do the judges sign confidentiality agreements? I have a great idea, and I don’t want anyone to steal my idea!

A: No, the judges do not sign confidentiality agreements. But the bigger thing for you to consider is not the judges, but the audience:  if you make it to the May 3 round, that is an event that is open to the public. Participation would be considered a “public disclosure” for patent purposes, which would start the clock ticking for when you have to file a patent. We recommend that teams that have a patentable invention not pitch until they have consulted with a patent attorney.

Q: I have an idea I’ve been working on with a Montclair State professor. Is that allowed?

A: Yes. Student teams can receive assistance from people who are not Montclair State students. However, only Montclair State students can pitch, so the professor can’t pitch. You also will need to find another Montclair State student to be part of your team–teams must include at least two Montclair State students.

Q: I have this great idea I created with my relative/friend who is not a Montclair State student. Can I pitch with that non-Montclair State person? If not, can I pitch by myself?

A: Only Montclair State students can pitch; however, student teams can receive help from people outside of Montclair State. Students must pitch in a team of at least two Montclair State students. You can find a second Montclair State student to join your team.

Q: But why would I bring in a second Montclair State student when my relative/friend and I created the idea and did all the work?!

A: You will need to consider if this is the right contest for you, if you feel that way. This contest is team-based. You are welcome to work out an arrangement with the Montclair State student you bring on to your team.

Q: My idea is just that: an idea. Do I need to have a fully formed business to enter the competition?

A: You can enter with just an idea. However, the judges will likely give more weight to teams that have taken their product/service/app beyond the idea stage. The more you are able to flesh out your idea and validate it with potential customers, the better. Also, a team that has a fully formed business may receive a higher ranking from the judges than a team that has just an idea.

Q: In reference to the customer and market traction section of the executive summary, should there already be an established prototype and current results as far as a customer base, etc.? Or are we answering the questions hypothetically?

A: Demonstrating that there is a market and customer base for your idea will strengthen your pitch. In a nutshell, the more meat you can put on the bones of your idea, the better off you will be with the judges. Also, a prototype is not required, but it helps the judges visualize and understand the idea, which could be an advantage.

Q: It says on the executive summary sample document (in the upper right corner) something about a website? Is that required before we pitch our idea? I’m asking because it costs money to make a website and has monthly fees associated with it.

A: A website is not required. If you don’t have a website yet, simply write “N/A” where website URL is requested in the upper right corner of the executive summary.

Q: Does my idea have to be related to tech?

A: No! Your idea can be related to anything.