Where is the event taking place?

The event will be held on Northwestern University's Evanston campus in the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center and Kellogg Donald P. Jacobs Center.

Do I have to have an idea?

Yes. Part of what we're trying to accomplish is the selection of good ideas by comparison. You have a much better chance of selecting 10 high quality items from a group of 100 items than a group of 20. If you're really having trouble finding an idea, ask a question about a big problem. For instance, what are the problems with Chicago's infrastructure? How might we fill the potholes on Noyes with an inexpensive and quick solution?

Can my idea be B2B/Social Entrepreneurship/Digital/etc?

Absolutely! If you want to do the NUvention Web portion, your idea must be digital, but you can have any type of business to apply to the unaffiliated bracket. The only requirement is that the idea must be for-profit. This is because it's very difficult to choose based only on the quality of ideas when one team is full of power-hungry capitalists and the other with kind samaritans, even if the ideas will have the same outcome. You may also want to use an idea that's testable within the bounds of the Evanston/Chicago area.

Do I have to enter as an individual? What if I already have a team?

If you already have a team, you'll each have to enter individually as a proponent of the same idea. After all, maybe team members have a different vision for the solution to your particular problem. Part of the goal of the Incinerator is not only to vet through ideas, but to vet through people. Besides, having four entries for your idea gives you a much better chance of making it to the final rounds than having only one.

How can I protect my intellectual property?

The only way you can protect your intellectual property is to keep it a secret, file a patent, protect your copyright, or file a trademark. Without those things, your intellectual property is unprotectable. That being said, many entrepreneurs and investors agree that ideas are cheap; at some point, someone has had your idea. Implementation, on the other hand is priceless. If you can implement an idea well, no one is going to waste their time trying to copy your idea unless they are already competent in your field. And if you don't have an unfair advantage that allows you to beat them, then why did you develop the product in the first place?

We will make sure to maintain your ownership of whatever IP you bring into the competition. We have structured an agreement that will transfer your IP to the company you create as a condition of registration, and will terminate said transfer when the competition is over. This will make sure that you maintain control of your IP as the sole proprietor and owner.

If I want to take NUvention: Web, do I have to be a part of the competition?

It is not required to be a part of the competition if you wish to take NUvention: Web. The professors understand that the weekend is a large commitment which not everyone will be able to make, and have purposefully reserved spaces for students who will not be participating. That being said, most students will be taken from the competition participants before non-participants are accepted.


If you have more questions, feel free to ask the event coordinator, Colton Dillion, by emailing him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . He'll make sure to add your question to the list.

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