Education Initiatives/Spirit of Innovation

Spirit of Innovation Overview

The USICOC Foundation’s annual Spirit of Innovation Technology Competition and Business Plan Presentation is a program designed for current undergraduate and graduate students in North Texas to support technology innovation and entrepreneurship among our local students. The Competition encourages participation from students who have created an innovative new product concept and prototype and would like to take it to the next level. Products are expected to be technology-based and designed to solve a current problem or make an existing product better.


The only female to compete in 2014, Shanti Thiyagaraja, took first place at the US India Chamber of Commerce Foundation Spirit of Innovation Competition and was featured in the Dallas Morning News for her success.
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Participating students will receive mentoring in both the refinement of their technological innovations from a technical perspective, as well as in the development of their business plans to be able to take their ideas to the next level. This is both a technology competition and business plan competition. However, greater weight is given to the technology scores than the business scores. The reason for this is to encourage entrants with innovative technology inventions to participate, who may not yet have a fully developed business plan.

Participating teams will be judged at the technology competition Spirit of Innovation Rules Page 2 round based on the technical quality and technical potential of their inventions. A valuable component to this competition will involve the development and presentation of business plans which will help teams who wish to monetize their inventions take the appropriate next steps. Winners will be selected and prize money will be awarded based on a 75% weighting of the technology competition scores and a 25% weighting of the business plan presentation scores.

Past participants in the USICOC Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation competition reported that they benefited greatly from the experience. Not only did they garner resources and valuable insight to move their ideas forward, but they also gained presentation experience, as well as press coverage for their work.


The second place winner from 2014 was BioLum, comprised of a group of SMU BBA students who invented an asthma diagnostic device. They now report that their experience in the competition, along with the prize money, helped propel their product and business concept to where they are now ready to start clinical trials of their product.