Student Innovators Compete for $30,000 in Fourth InventOR Competition

  On November 21, the Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge (InventOR) kicked off for the fourth year in a row. Teams of students from 20 colleges and universities will be competing for $30,000 in cash prizes.    

After identifying an issue in their community, participating teams are given an initial grant of $2,000 to develop and market a prototype. They receive further support in the form of workshops and mentorships provided by the Portland State University Center for Entrepreneurship, who manage the event.  

Juan Barraza, the Center for Entrepreneurship’s director of student innovation, told OPB that win or lose, participating students are “acquiring skill sets that otherwise would’ve taken a lot more time for them to learn, or they need to take an extra course at school to be able to acquire those skills.”  

The first competition was held in 2017, with only nine teams from five different schools. This year boasts 20 participating institutions with two teams each.   

“We’ve watched InventOR grow each year, providing more and more students the opportunity to experience the power of invention to change lives and to see themselves as inventors,” said Executive Director Carol Dahl of the Lemelson Foundation, a key sponsor of the event. “It’s thrilling to see the statewide impact of students taking on problems they see in their own communities and creating opportunities for regional economic growth through invention and entrepreneurship. Invention is a driver of job creation and prosperity in Oregon and InventOR is a first step towards a new generation of great homegrown companies.”   

The final round of the competition will be held on June 26 at Rogue Community College’s Medford campus.   

Participating institutions include Clackamas Community College, Concordia University, Eastern Oregon University, George Fox University, Klamath Community College, Lewis & Clark, Linfield College, College, Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland Community College, Portland State University, Rogue Community College, Southern Oregon University, Southwestern Oregon Community College,  University of Oregon, University of Portland, Warner Pacific College, and Western Oregon University.  

By Brandon Urey