Challenge Events

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CHALLENGES        SCHEDULE        AGENDA        RULES        FAQ

Challenge Events are one-day technology and innovation ideation/hackathons, held at participating colleges, universities, coworking spaces, and incubator facilities.  The purpose of these events is to introduce students, entrepreneurs, and innovators 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 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 industry challenges.  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 teams select a challenge to work on during the course of the day, making a seven-minute presentation at the event’s conclusion 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 could advance through the F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator and F³ Tech Accelerator programs.

Challenge Events are sponsored in part by


Below is a list of colleges, universities, coworking spaces, or business incubators hosting F³ Tech Challenge Events.


Princess Anne, MD
Baltimore, MD
Hagerstown, MD


September 27, 2018
October 8, 2018
October 16, 2018

AGENDA (typical agenda, subject to change per location)

s12:00 pm
12:30 pm
1:00 pm
4:00 pm
5:30 pm

Project Development Begins

FULL DAY events



Challenges are sorted into categories and are available to view:
Up to four members may participating per team
Events may be Half-Day (typically Noon to 5:00pm) or Full-Day (typically 8am to 4pm)
Meals/refreshments are provided
Unless otherwise indicated, any Intellectual Property is the property of developing 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 or more teams with a winning innovation or technology may be selected as a Challenge solution
Up to $1,000 in prizes are available but not guaranteed based upon the determination of the judging panel


Participants may apply individually or as a team (up to four members).  Individuals not already on a team will join a team at the start of the event.
Team members may be students (high school, college/university), entrepreneurs, innovators, or anyone interested in innovation and new ideas.


Does the idea/innovation SOLVE the original problem/challenge?

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), entrepreneurs, innovators, or anyone interested in innovation and new ideas are all eligible to participate.  Individuals or teams of up to 4 members may apply, individuals must join a team no later than the morning of the event.  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 individuals and 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 may 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 meals and refreshments as appropriate.

Who owns the ideas or intellectual property that may be created?
Each 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 may be provided 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 and entrepreneurs 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.