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VT KnowledgeWorks $25,000 Game Changers Challenge

Game Changers Challenge is an opportunity for one entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team to qualify for a $25,000 “Running Start” loan plus a package of free startup assistance services.  Solid runners-up may also qualify for free startup assistance. 

Any aspiring entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team may enter.  The challenge is open to all who meet the following criteria:

  • The product or service to be provided by the venture must either be consumed (not simply re-marketed) by another business, or be integrated into a more complex end-product for downstream sale.
  • The targeted buyers must constitute a relatively narrow demographic niche that can be addressed with limited resources.
  • The proposed product or service must powerfully address some widely acknowledged niche need.
  • High leverage must be obtained by the $25,000 (not just the first $25,000 out of a $1M needed for launch, for instance).
  • The entrepreneurial team must be able to fill the technology leadership roles in the proposed venture.
  • The team must be committed to locating business operations in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
  • Any intellectual property related to the enterprise must be appropriately owned or licensed by the enterprise.

Finalists will be selected by VT KnowledgeWorks staff, and will then be invited to make a 15-minute presentation to the Running Start Committee on their proposed new ventures.  There will be no public events, nor will competing teams be allowed to attend each other’s presentations.  In the absence of a solid applicant, no loan will be made.  This is a qualifying process, not a contest.

Proposals must be submitted in accordance with these guidelines.  

The deadline for the fall 2016 application submissions is October 7, 2016.  Applications should be submitted to  

The selection committee will review applications and VT KnowledgeWorks will communicate with applicants shortly thereafter.  Awards will be announced by early December.

Company: VT KnowledgeWorks
Street: 1715 Pratt Drive, Suite 1000
Postal/City: Blacksburg, Virginia 24060
Phone: 540-443-9100
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