Aspiring Villanova University Entrepreneurs Compete in Second Annual 24-Hour Imagination Quest Weekend, Nov. 16-17

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University’s annual 24-Hour Imagination Quest competition challenges student teams to identify an opportunity, develop an idea, examine its technical and business feasibility, create a top-level design, produce a business pitch, create a simple prototype and take part in a judged tradeshow – all in just 24 hours. The whirlwind campus-wide competition, which combines aspects of The Amazing Race, Shark Tank, The Apprentice and Fear Factor television shows, is open to all students who accept the challenge to use their imagination and have fun while applying the concepts of brainstorming, marketing, prototype development and presentation skills.

The fast-paced contest begins at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, and will end on Sunday, Nov. 17 at noon. Imagination Quest is sponsored by Villanova’s Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship (ICE Center), the College of Engineering’s Entrepreneurship Program, the University’s Beyond Ideas working group and the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN).

“During the event, the professors and staff act like personal trainers at the gym, pushing the students to perform at their highest level – except it is the students’ imagination that is being exercised to the limit,” said Edmond Dougherty, assistant professor in the College of Engineering and director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program. “You can see it on the faces of the students as they strain to handle the fast moving challenges, and yet they smile and laugh through the entire event. Most of the students won’t know one another before the event and yet will team up and produce solid results in only 24 hours.  What I love most about the event is that it gives students across the entire campus, regardless of their major, a chance to be creative and learn about the entrepreneurial mindset.”

The competition will begin promptly at noon on Saturday, November 16 when students will break into teams and be assigned to three different locations on Villanova’s campus. Based on their observations at these locations, the teams will be tasked with developing three opportunities for potential new products or ideas that could be implemented at each of the three locations, for a total of nine opportunities.  Each team will present their opportunities to judges who will rank the team’s opportunities.

Based on the initial feedback from the judges, the teams will select one opportunity to pursue for the remainder of the competition. The teams will work feverishly through the afternoon, evening and night to plan a prototype, market the idea and create the prototype. On Saturday evening, the teams will be judged on their “elevator pitch,” a quick, concise summary that effectively explains their product/idea. The event will be held in an actual elevator and the teams will have the length of time spent on the elevator ride to pitch their idea to the judges.

“Our students are increasingly interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial career path, and programs like the Imagination Quest provide an amazing opportunity for students in all academic programs to come together to spur creativity and innovation,” said II Luscri, director, ICE Center. “I can't wait to see what our students come up with in this 24 hour competition.”

The culmination of the competition on Sunday morning will require each of the teams to make a formal business pitch in the “Cat Cage,” a boardroom with Apprentice/Shark Tank-style judges waiting to test the teams’ entrepreneurial skills with probing questions. The winning team will receive a cash prize.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.