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The contest that birthed one of the founding members of Volta, the largest free electric car charging network in the nation, is calling for more entrepreneurial breakthroughs. The University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa’s Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) is inviting entrepreneurs to enter the UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

This year’s UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge, in partnership with the College of Engineering, William S. Richardson School of Law and College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, will focus on food, energy and water. UH students and faculty should submit entries for ideas that aim to solve these global issues, by sharing innovative solutions to end world hunger and provide systems for sustainable food supply, generating or storing energy, and enabling all global citizens to have access to clean water. Also related to these themes are innovative solutions for problems in public transportation.

Contestants will submit a two-minute video entry. These entries will be viewed by a panel that will select finalists. Each finalist will be paired with a business coach from the community. Finalists will vie for cash awards on November 16 in front of a live judging panel and audience. Cash prizes are $100 for each finalist; $500 2nd prize; $1,000 1st prize; and $500 Audience Choice. The challenge is generously sponsored by Accuity LLP, one of Hawaiʻi‘s largest and most experienced professional accounting firms.

The deadline to register is October 5. To register, individuals and teams must submit an online form.

Since the UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge was launched in 2010, winning entries have led to entrepreneurial initiatives such as a NASA nanosatellite launch and the startup of Akabotics, which provides waterway maintenance solutions using microdredging robots.

PACE provides high quality education in the form of entrepreneurial programs and curriculum for students. In addition, it also trains key faculty on current entrepreneurial instruction and supports the commercialization of UH technology and innovation to establish UH as a leader in entrepreneurial education.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Dear Sir/Ma’am,

    I am Priyanka Choudhary, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Innovation, Intellectual Property and Competition (CIIPC) at the National Law University, Delhi. As the title of centre indicates, our centre works on diverse issues in the areas of innovation, IP and competition. I am currently working with Dr Arul George Scaria on a project titled “Open Innovation”. The details of our project can be found here.

    For the purposes of our project, we are analyzing the terms and conditions in prominent open innovation challenges across the world. The idea is to gain more insights on the diverse IP management strategies in open innovation challenges.

    In this regard, I had gone through your website in detail. I would like to have your help in clearing the following doubts:
    1. Does the submission of an idea or solution by a participant create any obligation or liability on the organizers towards him (as far as similar or related ideas or solutions submitted by other participants are concerned)?;
    2. Whether the person submitting the proposal retains all IP rights?;
    3. Whether the sponsor is authorised to use the proposal without the submitter’s permission (besides the right to use the proposal for review/testing/experimentation to determine its technical feasibility)?;
    4. Is there any provision for the protection of confidential information provided by the participants?

    Thank you and we look forward to a positive reply from your side.



    1. Aloha Priyanka,

      For more information about the university’s Breakthrough Innovation Challenge you can contact the center hosting the challenge—the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE). The center’s website is at and contact information is on that page.

      UH News staff

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