SEED Challenge

Application Deadline: 5:00 pm, Monday, January 13, 2014

The School of Engineering and Applied Science is fortunate to have received funding from Mr. Ron Seubert to pursue a pilot project encouraging entrepreneurship for engineering and computer science students at Gonzaga University.   Within this project, you are challenged to develop creative ideas with the potential to meet Mr. Seubert’s M3 criteria: 

  1. Meet a need
  2. Make the technology work
  3. Make a difference in the world

We are not looking for groups who want to perform incremental engineering / computer science.  Rather, we are looking for groups of students who are willing to : (a) take a chance on an idea they have developed, (b) put the time and effort into trying to advance an idea to the point of deploying the final product, and (c) interact with successful professionals who will be brutally honest on project ideas and project potentials.

In order to help inspire students to achieve these goals, the funding provided by Mr. Seubert will be used to:

  1.  Pay a group of 4 students a summer stipend to remain at Gonzaga University during summer 2014 to work on an idea they have that they consider exciting and innovative (and then turn their ideas into a senior design effort).  The base stipend is $2,000/student for approximately 8 weeks’ worth of work with an additional $2,000/student provided if sufficient progress is made during the summer (as judged by a SEED advisory committee headed by Mr. Seubert)
  2. Pay for select development costs during the design and prototype processes     
  3. Pay up to $5,000 in assistance at graduation IF the SEED advisory committee feels that the student team has lived up to its potential AND that the resulting idea has potential to meet the M3. 

This is a competitive program and, at present, we can offer summer stipend to only one student team.  Therefore, your ideas will need to be powerful, be presented in a clear/effective manner, and clearly demonstrate how your idea has potential to address the M3 criteria.

Project Ideas 
Mr. Seubert has indicated that he does not want to place constraints on the ideas that you might bring forward as a result of this competition. Pick something exciting and of interest – maybe an idea you have been thinking about for a while now!  At the same time, your project ideas must clearly address the M3 criteria.  The more strongly your ideas are tied to these criteria, the better review your proposal will likely receive.  Hence, ideas ranging from design and marketing of a new electronic device to development of new strategies to address health issues in developing countries will be considered as appropriate to this contest.  The limits on the projects considered are  the limits of  your imagination. 

We ask that you form your teams (4 SEAS students per team) and initial ideas between now and the end of the semester.  You will be required to submit a proposal (details below) on or before the first day of class in the spring semester, 2014.   
We will review all applications within the first two weeks of the semester and will share the top five proposals with Mr. Seubert and an advisory team that he is forming in Seattle.  Prior to the first of March, we will announce which team has won this competition.   There may be other funds available to support an additional team. 
The winning team will be expected to spend 8 weeks on the Gonzaga campus working on their ideas during June and July, 2014. 

The Application
Each application should be no more than 4 pages in length, double-spaced, with reasonable margins on 8 ½ x 11 paper.  Figures can be attached as an appendix and will not count against the 4 pages.  Further, the cover letter will not count towards your 4-page limit.  The application should:

-1- introduce your team’s idea, 
-2- discuss why your group considers this idea to be important relative to the M3 criteria, 
-3- discuss the possible market or population that is expected to be served by or in a position to purchase your final product / service
-4- provide initial details on your idea, including initial diagrams / analysis to present your idea to a group of faculty and entrepreneurs
-5- the names and talents of your team members relative to the proposed project
-6- a GAANT chart or similar analysis of time line for your project
-7- an initial estimate of budget for your final project
-8- an appropriate cover letter with the names of your team members, addressed to

      Dr. Stephen Silliman
      Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science
      Gonzaga University
      502 East Boone Ave
      Spokane, WA 99258

The application must be delivered to this address prior to 5 p.m. on Monday, January 13, 2014. 

Information Session 
One or more information sessions will be announced prior to the end of November, 2013. 

Deliverables and Summer Period 
One of the major goals of this pilot project is to demonstrate the ability of engineering / computer-science students to fully develop a product / process idea as undergraduates.   

The summer internship will be divided into two 4-week periods.  During the first period, you will spend approximately 60 percent of your time developing the basic conceptual design for the technical aspects of your project. The remaining 40 percent of your time will be spent in directed readings related to entrepreneurship, including studying business plans of successful start-ups. You will also interview business and engineering professionals in the Spokane region relative to questions of entrepreneurship and start-up companies. At the end of the fourth week, you will present the technical aspects of your project to an assessment team, which will identify the strengths and weaknesses of the initial design.

During the second period, you will spend approximately 30 percent of your time in advancing the technical aspects of your project (based on feedback from the assessment), and 70 percent of your time on business plan analysis and development related to existing projects/artifacts which share similarities to your project idea. During the eighth week of the second period, you will present your developing project concepts as well as a strategy to develop a viable business plan to project faculty and a minimum of four outside consultants. Critiques and input from faculty and consultants will form the basis of your team’s senior design effort. 

When fall semester begins, your team will then pursue your senior design project through CEDE.  Your team’s senior design project will be distinct from the others managed through CEDE in that you will have already identified your project (as opposed to other projects in CEDE, which are identified by CEDE staff). Further, you will be expected to identify and recruit outside consultants and arrange for faculty oversight of your project.  Simply put, you will entirely define your senior design project. 

Financial Support: Each member of your team will receive an initial summer stipend of $2,000.  If, at the review at the end of the summer, the advisory group indicates that you have made substantial progress, you will each receive an additional $2000.  Your team will be able to access up to $4000 for project support costs, which could include supplies/equipment, travel, etc. Finally, this pilot SEED program will provide an additional $5,000 if, at the end of the fall semester of the senior year, the advisory group considers your team to have progressed sufficiently to provide an opportunity for advancing the project to a potential marketing or start-up opportunity prior to graduation. This funding could be used for additional project costs and/or for legal or development costs associated with advancing the project to the marketing or start-up level.