F3 Tech Challenge Event video YouTube play

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Challenge Events are one-day technology and innovation hackathons.  Held at participating colleges and universities they strive to introduce students to opportunities available in the sectors of agriculture technology, agriculture technology, and environmental technology.  These events are also intended to serve as an entry point for students into the innovation ecosystem and a pipeline to other accelerator programs that help facilitate the commercialization of the innovations and technologies initiated during the events.

Each Challenge Event will have a list of 4 to 6 challenges representing each of three categories; agritech, aquatech, and envirotech.  The challenges are sourced from businesses and industry subject matter experts and are representative of real-world problems that can benefit from a new approach or innovation and can be commercialized to provide a market application or solution.  Participating student teams select a challenge to work on during the course of the day, making a 7-minute presentation at the event’s end before a panel of industry experts who provide feedback and award a prize(s).

Serving as a feeder, it is hoped that team presentations will result in the prospect of new technology business startups that would advance through the F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator and F³ Tech Accelerator programs.


Below is a list of academic institutions being solicited to host a F³ Tech Challenge Event.  Initial efforts are being targeted to the Eastern Shore.  Dates will be added when they are confirmed.


Chesapeake College
College of Southern Maryland
Salisbury University
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Washington College
Wor-Wic Community College


Wye Mills, MD
LaPlata, MD
Salisbury, MD
Princess Anne, MD
Chestertown, MD
Salisbury, MD


Thursday, May 18, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017
To be determined
To be determined
To be determined
To be determined

The 2018 Schedule will include Challenge Events throughout Maryland.

AGENDA (typical agenda, subject to change per location)

8:00 am
8:30 am
8:45 am
12:00 pm
3:30 pm
6:00 pm
7:00 pm
8:00 pm

Project Development
Progress Reports



Participants must apply as a team, up to 4 members may participate on a team
Team members must be students (high school, college, or university; undergraduate or graduate – student ID required on day of event)


Challenges will be sorted into 3 Categories:
— Agriculture Technologies
— Aquaculture Technologies
— Environmental Technologies
2 to 3 challenges will be available in each category (announced 2 to 3 weeks prior to Challenge Event)
Up to 4 members may participating per student team
Held on Saturdays, 8am to 8pm
Meals are provided (breakfast, lunch, dinner in addition to refreshments)
Any Intellectual Property is the property of developing student teams and their responsibility to protect
Teams give 7-minute presentations on the proposed innovation or technology and its commercial opportunity to a panel of judges at end of event
One student team with a winning innovation or technology may be selected in each category, $1,000 prize per category is available but not guaranteed based upon the determination of the judging panel


Is the idea/innovation CLEAR?
Is the idea or innovation well-structured and comprehensive?
Does the team provide sufficient analysis regarding the technological and business aspects of the idea/innovation?

Does the idea/innovation have potential to make a SIGNIFICANT IMPACT?
What impact on the respective industry might this idea/innovation make?
Is this impact positive and significant, either broadly or deeply in an area?

Is the idea/innovation NOVEL?
Does the idea/innovation involve a new product, method, solution or technology?
The idea/innovation can either be entirely new or a new application of an existing product, method, solution or technology.

Is the idea/innovation FEASIBLE?
Is the proposed idea/innovation technically feasible?
Does the team illustrate the feasible implementation of the idea/innovation?
Does the idea/innovation provide insight into technical potential or product need in sufficient depth?
Is the market targeted by the team attractive?
Does the team demonstrate depth of knowledge regarding the initial target market (e.g. channel, target customers, competitive advantage of the product etc.)?


What is a hackathon?
Hackathons are technology development marathons that draw on the talents and initiative of bright minded volunteers – developers, engineers, technologists, designers, students, and anyone with a passion and desire to have an immediate impact on the world.  They are open to anyone who has a passion for making a difference and are focused on developing real solutions to market-driven challenges by the end of the event.  F³ Tech Challenge Events are part of a larger process of defining challenge statements, intensively working to prototype solutions over the course of an event, and subsequently refining and implementing the most promising prototypes.

Who can apply to F³ Tech Challenge Events and when is the deadline for application?
Teams of students (high school, college, university) are all eligible to participate.  Only teams of up to 4 members may apply, no individual participants.  The deadline to apply for a challenge event is one week prior to the date of the respective event.

How much does it cost?
The events are free to eligible student teams.

What are you supposed to accomplish?
The purpose of each Challenge Event is to stimulate and provoke new thinking and new ideas in response to real-world, market-based problems.  The expectation for participating teams is to develop a new innovation and technology idea that has merit and shows the promise of commercialization.  It is not the intention that teams develop business models or work on creating new startup businesses, this will come later.  The focus is on ideas, innovations, and solving a problem through technology.

Will there be help?
Mentors, coaches, and subject matter experts will be at each event and available throughout the day to answer questions and provide guidance as teams navigate through the development of new ideas and innovations.

Are there any prizes or awards?
There is the opportunity for a $1,000 cash award for each category at each event.  The award is not guaranteed but will be awarded to the best team in each category based upon the discretion of the judging panel.  The threshold to win is low, but a team has to earn the award based upon a solid presentation about a viable innovation.  REFER TO THE JUDGING CRITERIA

Is food provided?
The event will include a continental breakfast, buffet lunch, and buffet dinner as needed along with interim snacks and plenty of beverages.

Who owns the ideas or intellectual property that may be created?
Each student team owns any ideas or intellectual property that may be developed during the course of participating in the event.  It will be the collective responsibility of the team to protect its intellectual property.  None of the event organizing partners have any responsibility in protecting a team’s intellectual property.  All mentors, coaches, and judges will have signed a non-disclosure agreement at the start of the event. Because many of the challenge ideas themselves originate from businesses and startups already engaged in agritech aquatech, and envirotech, they will be provided in exchange an abstract of your work along with your team contact information in the event they are interested in pursuing future collaboration with the team and access to any intellectual property.

What happens after the event?
Part of the purpose for the challenge event is to introduce students to the possibilities and opportunities in agritech, aquatech, and envirotech and the multitude of disciplines they include.  Whether merely enjoying the process of developing new ideas and innovations or using it as a stepping stone into creating a successful tech startup business, there is an abundance of resources available to help your innovation or technology reach commercialization.