The Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge is a fun but educational program that will teach you how to build a technology-based product or service with the end user in mind- a skill applicable to any future career pathway, whether you’re working for a Fortune 500 company or starting up your own tech business.  Our private sector partners have provided some real world challenges for you to work on, or you can develop your own idea.  Either way, it’s an awesome resume booster.  You’ll have the opportunity to attend some transformative webinars on everything from creating an attractive LinkedIn profile, to building an engaging presentation, and accessing entrepreneurial resources.  We also offer life-changing mentor engagements with industry professionals and business owners that can open doors, connect you to internship and employment opportunities, and jumpstart your career.  All this is FREE!  AND you can compete for cash prizes from $500 to $10,000 and a chance to attend the Bayou Classic with travel expenses paid.   So what are you waiting for?  Here’s how you can get in on this action: 



Team members must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program (including the law school) at one of the following universities: 

Southern University 

Grambling State University 

Southern University at New Orleans

Southern University at Shreveport

Dillard University 

Xavier University of Louisiana

Delgado Community College 

Baton Rouge Community College

Alabama State University

Alabama A&M University

Alcorn State University

Jackson State University 

Mississippi Valley State University

Prairie View A&M University 

Texas Southern University 

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tuskegee University



*      Do you already have a brilliant idea for a product or service?  Great!  Check the challenge idea list (see the link below) and see if it fits into one of the three specialty categories (check all three, because these categories can include a wide variety of topics and academic disciplines).  If your idea doesn’t quite fit these categories, then you should choose the open “Entrepreneurial Ideas” category.  If you’re not sure, call or email Genevieve at 225-215-0087 or and she’ll help you choose.

*      If want to participate in the program but don’t have a project idea, don’t worry as we’ve got plenty!  Look at the challenge idea list (see the link below) in each of the three categories and choose one that sounds interesting to you.  If the idea list sparks an even better idea in that field, feel free to submit that too!

Challenge Idea List



*      Teams should be comprised of a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of (5) students.

*      Teams must have at least one (1) individual majoring in a business or law discipline and at least one (1) individual majoring in a STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) discipline (can include Computer Information Systems)

*      Each team must have a faculty coach from their university, preferably from a business or technical college.  If you need help finding one, let us know.



2018 Registration information coming soon.



*      One of the best things about this program is that your team gets matched up with mentors from the business world and/or your field of study.  These mentors can be a great resource to give feedback about your team’s project, talk to you about your field of study, and maybe even introduce you to potential employment opportunities or business partners.  Mentors can provide feedback virtually or in-person depending on their availability.

*      Coaches and mentors are only allowed to provide guidance and feedback, and may not directly prepare any material submitted by the team.

*      Mentor engagements count as part of your score in the judging rounds.




Your goal is to design technology that solves a problem in the marketplace, and create a successful business model around that technology.  

*      Deadline:  Projects are due on Wednesday November 6th @ 5 p.m. 

*      Requirements:  Team project entries will have 3 requirements:

1)     Product or service design that incorporates a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math)-based element or platform (e.g. mobile app, software product, hardware product, SAAS, Internet-based company, or a product or service based on scientific research). The product or service does not have to be a full working prototype, but should have a minimum set of specifications or features that would allow the team to collect data to validate the concept and its continued development.  Projects can be based on prior work as long as that work was completed by one or more students on the team.

2)     2 to 5-page business summary that describes how the team would create a business based on the product or service idea.  The team should use the business summary template.

3)     5-minute video pitch presentation. This component should be a video of the students giving a live pitch presentation about their product or service.  The team can utilize different pitch venues, props, and other creative components, but the video must show the speaker(s) delivering the presentation, and it must include the elements listed in the pitch template format found here.  The judges will be looking for the elements shown on the judging criteria summary found here.  Powerpoint software is required for pitch presentations - no Prezis will be permitted. Powerpoint presentations must be in 16:9 format. Videos can be shot with camera phones or other devices, and uploaded to YouTube or another easily accessible video sharing site.

4)     (Optional):  Teams can include a demonstration of their product/service during the 5-minute pitch, or they may include an additional 2-minute video demonstration.


*      Intellectual Property:  Rights to any intellectual property created by the teams shall remain with the teams.  Teams must obtain permission to use any third-party IP as part of their proposed solution, and such IP cannot be used for the basis of the solution.  IP used as the basis of the solution must be created by the students on the team, but it can be based on prior work as long as the solution addresses the challenge specifications.



*      Attend the seminars/webinars offered on a variety of business and STEM-related topics.  The schedule can be found here.

*      Make sure to take a look at the judging criteria, as your score is affected by the number of videos you watch and webinars you attend!



*      Judges will consist of professionals from the business, technology, and economic development sectors.  Detailed information on the judging criteria and judging process is provided here.

*      Evaluations will be conducted as follows:

1.     Round 1- Virtual Selection:  By 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday November 6th, each team must submit a link to their technology solution, an executive summary of up to 5 pages, and a 5-minute pitch presentation (specs for these as described above).  Judges will choose the top three entries in each of the four categories and award cash prizes to those teams.

2.     Round 2- Virtual Selection:  Judges will choose the top 5 teams out of all of the first, second and third place category winners, and those teams will be eligible for Round 3.

3.     Round 3- Live Judging:  The 5 teams selected in Round 2 will be asked to travel to New Orleans for the final judging event on Friday, November 23rd at 12:00 pm (travel stipends will be provided), where they will be allotted a maximum of 6 minutes, plus 4 minutes for Q&A, to present their project to a panel of judges who will choose the first place team based on innovation, business model development and technical achievement.  The first place team will win the grand prize of $10,000.


Your chance to win

The winning teams of the Challenge will receive the following cash prizes, split equally between the team members.  Any changes in the allocation of prize money to team members must be sent in writing by the faculty coach.

*      Category Prizes:  The top three teams selected by the judges in each of the four categories (Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Energy, Digital Technologies, and Entrepreneurial Ideas) will receive the following cash prizes:

1st Place:  $1,500

2nd Place:  $1,000

3rd Place:  $500

*      Grand Prize:  The 1st place team selected by the judges at the live pitch competition will win the grand prize of $10,000, in addition to their category prize.

*      Bayou Classic Tickets:  The team members from the 5 teams chosen for the final judging event in New Orleans will also each receive a complimentary ticket to the Bayou Classic game on Saturday, November 25th.

*      Travel Costs:  Each of the five teams selected for the final judging event in New Orleans will receive three complimentary hotel rooms at the venue for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, as well as a travel voucher of $200 to cover meals, gas and parking.




*      Keep working on your LinkedIn profile to collect recommendations, add accomplishments and stand out to potential employers and business partners.

*      Use the mentor and other connections you gained in the program to seek out internships and employment opportunities.

*      Connect with the NexusLa for additional help in building your business.


Contact Genevieve Silverman at 225-215-0087 or


To download a PDF version of the Official BizTech Challenge Rules, click the link below.