Cozad New Venture Competition


Congratulations to this year's winning teams:

RITHMIO (University funded) and LUMENOUS (non-University funded)! 


General Information

Want to start a company? Have an idea for a startup? Cozad can help with funding, mentoring and taking your ideas to the next level.

The Cozad New Venture Competition (CNVC) is designed to encourage students to create new sustainable businesses. Teams are invited to create a venture around a topic of their choice.

About TEC About TEC

The competition process offers teams assistance in the form of: mentors to help guide them through the phases of venture creation, workshops to help with idea validation, pitching skills, customer development, and more as well as and courses to enhance their skills and knowledge.

Teams who make it to the final rounds of competition will have the opportunity to meet with venture capitalists, early stage investors and successful entrepreneurs who will serve as judges for the finals round. The judges will determine up to 8 finalist teams that will present their ventures at the finals event. These teams will compete for nearly $200,000 in funding and in-kind prizes.

The co-founding team must consist of at least 30% University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students and the overall team should be at least 50% students (from any institution). Non-students may be members of the co-founding team and participate in planning the venture, but only Illinois students may present the plan and answer questions from the judges in all rounds. There is no limit to the number of teams that can enter the CNVC. Students can serve on multiple teams.

New this year!

We have made some exciting changes to the competition this year:

  • Students can compete in two different tracks: teams commercializing their own ideas OR teams commercializing University-funded research.
  • We are partnering with the College of Business to include workshops on finances, marketing, customer development and more.
  • We will be offering more mentoring (from alumni and community) for teams throughout the competition.


Check out last year's winners.

Schedule/Description of Events

Event Date Location Time
RSVP for Kick-off Event (appreciated)   Online  
Cozad Kick-Off and Teaming Event (part of SocialFuse) TBD    
Cozad Workshop Series: Provisional Patents 101 TBD    
SocialFuse/ Teaming Event TBD    
Deadline to submit Intent to Compete form online TBD    
Patent Clinic Kick-Off
Deadline to submit Executive Summary online TBD    
Cozad Workshop Series: Visas, International Students and Starting a Company TBD    
Workshop: Elevator Pitch "Video" TBD Online  
Elevator Pitch Round One TBD    
Deadline to submit signed waivers for all team members TBD    
Elevator Pitch Round Two TBD    
Workshop: Putting the Canvas Together (Half Day) TBD    
Deadline to submit final materials TBD    
TEC announces semi-finalists via email TBD    
Workshop: Oral Presentations TBD    
Deadline to withdraw from competition TBD    
Finals Event: Winners announced at awards ceremony TBD    


Kick-Off and Networking Event
The Technology Entrepreneur Center will host a CNVC Kickoff Event that will include an overview of the Competition and a networking reception. 

Patent Clinic Kick-Off
The Patent Clinic is a joint effort between the TEC and the University of Illinois College of Law (COL) in which selected participants from the Cozad New Venture Competition can have a patent application drafted for them at no cost if their invention description includes a novel and potentially patentable device, system or method.


All undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to compete for the award regardless of college, department, or major. Students must be enrolled full-time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during the academic year in which the award will be presented. All teams must include at least one full-time student in order to compete.

To view the complete Cozad Rule Book please click here

Intent to Compete Form
Students or Teams interested in applying for Cozad may fill out the Intent to Compete form. 

Executive Summary
Will be posted during the 2014-2015 school year.

Final Submission Materials
Will be posted during the 2014-2015 school year.

Competition Waiver
All competing students/ teams will need to fill out a Competition Waiver and Rules Acknowledgment form. 

An example can be found here: Competition Waiver and Rules Acknowledgment form


Past Winners


Contendable is a platform for hosting and managing competitions in a unique community-based network which enables businesses to crowd source innovation.

Effimax Solar is developing a more efficient Nano texturing technique for more solar cells that they will sell to photovoltaic manufacturing plants.


OrangeQC is a quality control company for the janitorial and food-service market. They work with contractors and offer them a software as a service (SaaS) web application to keep track of the quality of service as well as mobile device software to perform area inspections.

2008-2009 is collaborative songwriting and music composition website based on audio tracks. This technology will allow millions of musicians to collaborate on songs together.

About V. Dale Cozad

Born on a farm in Illinois, Dale Cozad earned a degree in Agricultural Economics from Southern Illinois University, and promptly embarked on a career in insurance. Although very successful, his growing interest in diversified financial services led him to found Cozad Asset Management in 1972. Today, the company is a registered investment advisor with over $350 million in assets under management.

Dale Cozad was also one of the entrepreneurs who founded Cozad Westchester Agricultural Asset Management, which to date has received $390 million in commitments from institutional agricultural investors.

In recognition of Dale’s great success, and of his long friendship with Peter Fox, Peter and his wife Kim have, through a generous endowment, established both the V. Dale Cozad Lecture Series in Entrepreneurship through the College of Commerce, and the Cozad New Venture Competition through the Technology Entrepreneur Center in the College of Engineering. These gifts, enhanced by family and friends of Dale Cozad, honor his memory, his hard work, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit.

Speaking of his father, Greg Cozad, now the president of Cozad Asset Management, recalls that “he was always an entrepreneur at heart, always looking for new financial services that would allow him to serve his clientele better. He was very competitive by nature and loved to encourage and assist young people in their career goals. The Lecture Series in Entrepreneurship and the Business Plan Competition are therefore fitting memorials to my dad, and an outstanding tribute to his legacy. They combine his business interest with his commitment to the University of Illinois."

Dale Cozad was a valued member of the Commerce Business Advisory Council from 1981 until his untimely death in 1993.


Thank you to our 2014 Cozad New Venture Competition Sponsors.

Platinum Sponsors:

Enterprise Works


<img alt="Polsinelli" data-cke-saved-src="" src="" style="width=" 178px;"="">

Illinois Business Consulting

Meyer Capel

Gold Sponsors:



Silver Sponsors:


Bronze Sponsors: