Socks, Cardboard and Water Bottles: The 100-Hour Challenge helps students turn small, dorm room items into big ideas

From November 9-13, 2023, the StartUp Learning Community hosted its annual 100-Hour Challenge, a signature innovation contest, popular with undergraduates and graduate students alike. The purpose of the fully virtual Challenge is to help participants discover that creative thinking can be sparked by the unexpected and that the ability to tell an entrepreneurial story is an important part of startup success. We so often think of technical skills as the key to innovation, but the 100-Hour Challenge proves cool ideas can be shaken loose simply by opening the sock drawer or raiding a bathroom caddy.

The contest began on Thursday when students could log onto the 100-Hour Challenge website to see the list of “approved items” for creating their prototypes. These items are all things that can be found in a typical student’s dorm room or apartment, like a fan, a scrunchie, light bulbs or cardboard. Then students, either working in teams or solo, spend a long weekend transforming their items into ideas they pitch to a team of community judges who represent valued campus partners like D2P and The Studio Learning Community. The entries, either video or slide deck, were evaluated in three categories: most potential revenue value, most potential social value and creativity.

Learn more about the winners here: