A diverse classroom of men and women. Two women with their hands raised.

President's Innovation Challenge

The President’s Innovation Challenge is a team competition to encourage social and business entrepreneurship that helps solve major problems of our day here in Southern Nevada.

The Question

COVID-19 changed the world.

And in Las Vegas, it achieved the unimaginable: it closed the Strip.

When the city’s famous lights went off in 2020, it looked like a zombie movie. However, Las Vegans did not shy away from this challenge – they realized that we needed more resilience, more economic diversity, and more ingenuity. It was a matter of survival.

For UNLV’s first-ever President’s Challenge, this is your task: invent a creative solution to Las Vegas’ economic diversity challenge. How do we make Las Vegas’ economy more resilient, more diversified, and more sustainable for all Las Vegans?

The Challenge

When you, as a Rebel undergraduate or graduate student, sign up for this challenge, you will soon learn: this is not just a technology challenge for techies -- it is an idea challenge for all of us.

This career-changing experience will lead you to form teams of Rebels, and together your team will invent a solution. Maybe your team will identify a significant social issue to solve; or launch the development of a new business or nonprofit that can take root and thrive; or invent an app that fosters a sustainable improvement in the socio-economic factors that drive or hinder this city; or maybe you will come up with a brilliant idea for an expansion of the arts to achieve a greater benefit for everyone, residents and visitors alike.

The challenge is what we offer. The idea is up to you.

As always, teams are best, simply due to the effectiveness of teams in solving major problems. If you don’t have a team, though, that’s fine! We will help you build a team. And we want all Rebels -- all majors, all disciplines, all backgrounds, and all students -- to participate. We have defined the problem; it is up to you to find the solution – one that could win a significant cash prize, and even a life-changing path for your future.

Students working with the president of UNLV.

Competition Details

You and a team of fellow students will develop an innovative solution and vie for the opportunity to win prize money to make your idea a reality. Teams must be multidisciplinary (e.g., arts, engineering, and business) and include at least one graduate student and one undergraduate student.

During the fall semester, you will form your team, attend technical assistance workshops to gain the knowledge you need to be successful, and submit a competition proposal. The most competitive proposals will be selected to move forward to the next round of the competition in the spring during which your team will build and submit your final solution to the problem statement. You’ll present your plans at the spring showcase to a panel of judges, and final prizes will be announced.


Winning teams will receive cash prizes from a prize pool of $50,000 (including a grand prize of $20,000)! To support winning teams in transforming your proposals into realities, prize packages for winners will include a place in the UNLV Incubator cohort and support from mentors in your field.

Students who advance to the final round will receive a free class and a pass - tuition for a spring semester class (or scholarship equivalent) and a free UNLV parking pass.

All participating teams will receive a sustain and inspire package with gift cards, in-kind products and services, 24/7 access to the UNLV Incubator and the UNLV Gateway Graduate Commons, and resources to help launch your innovation and prepare your submission.


Join us for an Information Session on October 22, 2-4 p.m., to learn more about the competition and complete the President’s Innovation Challenge Interest Form by October 25, 2021. 


Email gradrebel@unlv.edu or send us a message on Discord.

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