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Aspiring Villanova University Entrepreneurs Compete in Third Annual 24-Hour Imagination Quest Weekend, Nov. 15-16

24-Hour Imagination Quest Weekend

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 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, and will end at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16. 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).

“The 24- Hour Imagination Quest is a high-adrenalin, highly educational event that draws entrepreneurially-minded students from across campus,” said Edmond Dougherty, assistant professor in the College of Engineering and director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program. “The students are given a challenge, and within minutes of the start of the event form multidisciplinary teams. The teams work together to prove their creativity, business acumen, communications skills, marketing ability, technology know-how and even artistic skills.  Within 24 hours they move from discovering an opportunity and brainstorming solutions, to developing a prototype and presenting a business pitch to potential investors in the "Cat Cage,” Villanova's version of the Shark Tank.”

The competition will begin promptly at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15 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 judges’ initial feedback, the teams will select one opportunity to pursue for the remainder of the competition. Each group 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 each group will have the length of time spent on the elevator ride to pitch their idea to the judges.

“The ideas our students come up with in 24 hours are amazing,” said II Luscri, director, ICE Center. “We intentionally put students from different disciplines together as part of the 24- Hour Imagination Quest to help accelerate the ideation process. Whether students are interested in starting their own ventures, or just being more creative in their academic pursuits, the 24 Hour Imagination Quest is a great experience.”

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 be awarded $600, second place will win $300 and third place will win $150.

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 six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies 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.