Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the Cozad New Venture Challenge

If I participate, does TEC or the University get ownership of my startup’s intellectual property (IP)?
No. The University and TEC do not receive the right to own your IP if you participate, or win funding or prizes, through the Cozad New Venture Challenge. For more information, see University IP Ownership Guidelines.

Do I need teammates to participate, or can I participate on my own?
Forming a team is not required. You may participate on your own.

Who is eligible to participate?
All students across campus, whether undergraduate or graduate students, are welcome to participate. Students must be enrolled full-time at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign during the academic year in which they are competing. All teams must include at least one full-time, on-campus, residential, degree-seeking student in order to compete. For example, if you are an iMBA student, your team must include a student that has these qualifications.

Think your idea is too early for the Cozad New Venture Challenge?
All you need is an idea, and your idea can even change while participating in the Cozad New Venture Challenge. Prototypes aren’t required. We’ll help you accelerate your idea with mentoring and developing the skills you need to succeed.

Think your startup is too advanced for the Cozad New Venture Challenge?
You’re in a good position to win serious funding by participating! And, you'll get to connect with investors and experienced entrepreneurs.

About how many teams compete in Cozad each year?
It varies from year to year, but normally we have between 75 and 125 teams compete each year.

When is registration due?
Registration is now closed. Check back at the end of Fall 2024 for 2025 Cozad New Venture Challenge registration info.

What do I win if I win the Cozad New Venture Challenge?
It varies from year to year, but we have given out large amounts of funding, co-working space, resources, counseling, consulting, and various other prizes to help kickstart your company. Check out the winning teams and what they won in 2023!

Who is eligible for the top prizes?
Participants in any track are eligible for top placement prizes such as Grand Prize, Second Place, and so forth.

Can international students participate in Cozad?
Yes, international students can participate in Cozad. However, it is recommended you speak to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). Contact:

Which prizes are awarded in the form of SAFE funding? What exactly is SAFE funding?
All of the top cash prizes in Cozad are awarded in the form of SAFE funding. SAFEs are set up in such a way to be enormously beneficial to student founders. Learn what you need to know about SAFEs with this easy-to-understand document that includes examples that show how it could apply to you and your startup. Fun Fact: Y Combinator pioneered the SAFE in 2013 as a way for early-stage startups without valuations to get needed funding.

Learn More about SAFE Funding