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The Norman Esch Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards

Do you have a new, innovative idea but lack the funds, resources and knowledge to make it a reality?

The Norman Esch Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards applications are open for the Winter 2022 cohort.

The Norman Esch Awards provide financial assistance at 3 stages (from $5,000 to $25,000) to multiple Engineering and Architectural Science students.


Submit your idea for a digital, hardware, or service based solution. 

Applications close on Monday March 7, 2022 at 4PM.

Three stages of funding include: 

  • Stage 1: Interaction Award ($5,000)
  • Stage 2: Development Award ($8,000)
  • Stage 3: Market Readiness Award ($25,000)

The winners will receive both financial assistance and startup programming from the Innovation Boost Zone.

The Innovation Boost Zone will provide Esch winners with step by step guidance in establishing their ventures as well as:

  • Workshops in Entrepreneurship, Product Development, Marketing, Sales, Legal and more!
  • 1-on-1 advisor sessions
  • Connections to network of industry experts and professionals 
  • Free resources from the University for market research and prototyping

Award Selection

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Stage 1: Interaction Award ($5,000)

The Stage 1 Esch Award supports students in the initial ideation stages.

Applicants should conduct research to demonstrate that the idea does not already exist in the marketplace, and address the issues identied in the selection criteria. 

(There can be multiple winners per stage.)

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Stage 2: Development Award ($8,000)

The Stage 2 Esch Award supports students who have completed formal market research which substantiates that there is market demand for their product or service. This award will help successful applicants develop business plans or alpha/beta prototypes.

Applicants should have considered the steps required to develop their ideas into businesses, and be able to address the issues identified in the selection criteria.

(There can be multiple winners per stage.)

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Stage 3: Market Readiness Award (up to $25,000)

The Stage 3 Esch Award supports students who have completed formal business plans and/or alpha or beta prototypes. This award will help successful applicants conduct market readiness assessments, obtain legal advice, complete technology transfer agreements, etc.

Applicants should be in a position to demonstrate that their idea has commercial potential and be able to address the issues identified in the selection criteria. 

(There can be multiple winners per stage.)