OPEN Minds 2018 Guidelines

interested in applying to participate in open minds 2018? read the guidelines below or download them to see if you’re eligible!

OPEN Minds 2018 will take place on March 24, 2018 in Austin, TX.

VentureWell’s OPEN Minds exhibition is an opportunity for E-Teams to showcase their ground-breaking innovations. OPEN Minds is held in conjunction with OPEN, VentureWell’s annual conference, March 23-24, 2018 in Austin, TX. Teams that are selected will receive a stipend to defray travel costs.

The exhibition is an opportunity for student teams to demonstrate their products and receive feedback from faculty around the country, VentureWell’s extended staff, board members, funders, and peer E-Teams, as well as the chance to win cash prizes up to $3,000.

Check out the 2017 teams!

Eligibility and Requirements

  • Interested teams must be previously or currently affiliated with VentureWell’s E-Team Grant Program.
  • Teams must have a working prototype or something engaging to showcase at the time of the exhibition (hands-on and interactive displays draw the most attention and interest).
  • If your team is selected to participate you’ll be asked to submit a 1-2 minute video to “advertise” your team on the OPEN Minds webpage.
  • Selected teams are required to be on location and must attend all activities related to OPEN Minds on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24. Teams will be expected to arrive by Thursday, March 22 and leave no earlier than Sunday, March 25.

Do you have questions about your team’s eligibility? Please contact Brenna Breeding.

How to Apply

Deadline: December 11, 2017

Interested teams will submit an easy, 5-step online application, which can be accessed here. If you have not already done so, you will need to create a VentureWell account to access the application. Teams should be prepared to provide the following as part of the application:

A brief narrative (no more than 3 pages) that addresses the following:

  • Your Technology: What is your invention or technology innovation and is it technically feasible? What problem are you solving for what customers? In what way is it better than other solutions on the market? What large-scale impact would successful adoption of your innovation create (e.g., lives saved, amount of CO2 reduction, increased income to customers, etc.)?
  • Why OPEN Minds? Explain why you want to participate in OPEN Minds and what your team hopes to get out of this experience.
  • Your Exhibit Plans: During the OPEN Minds exhibition, participating teams engage with a wide variety of people––university faculty and students, media representatives, college faculty, philanthropic funders, and government agency representatives. This is great opportunity for marketing your team. Successful exhibits are inviting, interactive, and teach people (regardless of age or level of expertise in your area) about your product and/or venture. If your team is selected to participate in OPEN Minds, please describe what you plan to showcase. Each team will have a standard 6’ x 30” table with a small amount of floor space for a sign or poster. Be sure to answer:
    • What equipment (if any) do you plan on bringing (laptop, device, tray, etc.)?
    • Do you need electricity for your exhibit. If so, for what? (note that outlets will be limited and those that need power for their actual exhibit, not just for a laptop, will be prioritized).
    • Will you bring a prototype and/or any relevant tools or materials with you? If so, please describe the size of your prototype and any materials that would be included as part of your exhibit. If bringing a prototype is not possible, please explain how you intend to create an attractive, interactive exhibit.


  • A high resolution (at least 2MB/300 dpi in size), compelling photo. Photos can be of your prototype and/or demonstrate your device’s intended use or market. Photos from the field are also acceptable. This photo will be used for marketing purposes, so please make sure it’s high resolution, compelling, and one that you’re comfortable sharing.
  • Verification of support from a faculty advisor. This may take a day or two, so plan accordingly in advance of the submission deadline.


Applicants will be notified of their status in December 2017. Selected teams will be responsible for making their own transportation arrangements but VentureWell will reserve and pay for one hotel room per team. VentureWell will provide a stipend to defray the cost of airfare. Details to be provided upon acceptance. 

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