open minds 2020 guidelines

interested in applying to participate in open minds 2020? read the guidelines below or download them to see if you’re eligible!

OPEN Minds 2020 will take place, March 19-21, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

VentureWell’s OPEN Minds exhibition enables E-Teams to showcase their ground-breaking technology innovations. OPEN Minds is held in conjunction with OPEN, the VentureWell annual conference.

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, peer E-Teams, and other conference attendees. Teams have the chance to win cash prizes up to $3,000, and selected teams receive a stipend to defray travel costs.

Check out the 2019 teams!

Eligibility and Requirements

  • Interested teams must be previously or currently affiliated with the VentureWell E-Team Grant Program.
  • Teams must have a working prototype or engaging aspect of their innovation 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 20 and Saturday, March 21. Teams will be expected to arrive by Thursday, March 19 and leave no earlier than Sunday, March 22.

Do you have questions about your team’s eligibility? Please contact Program Officer, David D’Angelo.

How to Apply

Deadline: December 11

Interested teams will submit an easy 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:

  • 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) 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.
  • 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. Selected teams will be responsible for making their own transportation arrangements. VentureWell will subsidize travel and expenses for up to two team members per team to attend. These expenses include airfare, hotel accommodations, and a small stipend for food. Details to be provided upon acceptance.

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