COBI Events and Programs

2022 Innovathon Competition

Register Here to Compete

What is The 2022 Neff Innovathon Competition?

The John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation's Innovathon Competition is a marathon of ideas to stimulate participants through local companies’ real challenges, to contribute to the innovation process and to promote and implement new and creative solutions for such issues.

The Innovathon represents an ideal environment for sharing new ideas, evaluating teamwork attitude towards common goals, increasing your professional network and discovering new talents and opportunities.

Structure of the Competition

Your role in this competition is to aid one local business with a very specific, real-world issue they are facing and recommend possible innovative solutions.

Prize Money

1st Place: $1,500

2nd Place: $500

3rd Place: $250

The Company

Cake in a Cup (, was selected as the featured company. It is a female led and locally owned business with a history of more than 20 years serving the Toledo area. The organization is a cozy bakeshop specializing in inventive cupcakes with a range of toppings, plus other sweet treats.
Like many small firms, Cake in a Cup faces multiple challenges, but it also finds opportunities for improvement and growth. A detailed interview was completed with a co-owner of Cake in a Cup to provide insights about the company, its history, challenges and opportunities. Upon registration for the Innovathon Competition, you will be sent the video of the interview to review and analyze.

Competition Prompt

It is now your team’s turn to identify possible problems and recommend innovative solutions to the company. What would you and your team recommend Cake in a Cup to strengthen its position in the region and perhaps expanding its business? What other factors are important to attract potential customers? What innovative projects should the company follow to improve its efficiency? These are just exemplary topics you and your team can address in your recommendations for the competition.

Competition Timeline

  • Registration of groups: Register by October 23.
    Note: Groups registering late will have less time to prepare their recommendations. So, it is encouraged to register early.
  • Groups working on their recommendations: Deadline is November 6 at midnight.
  • Judges select 5 finalists for oral presentation and notification to the finalists: Deadline is November 10.
  • Final presentations and selection of the winner and runner-up team (in-person): Friday, December 2, 2022 (Room and time TBD).
    Five presenting teams at 20 minutes each including questions for approximately 2 hours.

Reasons to Compete

  • You will acquire highly useful skills for your professional career such as team-working, problem-solving and applying theoretical knowledge to solve real-life business challenges.
  • Contribute with your own ideas in solving problems of common interest.
  • Offer a local company a different point of view and creative thinking on how to address and solve a challenge that currently faces.
  • Companies are constantly searching for candidates with experience and with problem-solving skills to reduce the challenges they face in the marketplace. Participating in this competition will expand your professional network and increase your visibility for potential employers.
  • The Innovathon will receive coverage and internal and/or external publicity.
  • The monetary award for winning the competition.

Who Can Participate?

All undergraduate and graduate students in good standing at The University of Toledo are eligible to compete. Participating teams may consist of 1 to 4 people maximum.

The required information for each participant is:

  1. First name
  2. Last name
  3. Rocket ID number
  4. College and major
  5. Email

Ethical Standards

Students must prepare and must assure that submissions for this competition are completed in accordance with the highest ethical principles and values. There must be no violation of copyright laws, misrepresentation of someone else's work as your own, or any activity that would reflect negatively on the values of The University of Toledo. Any such activity may result in disqualification from the competition.


If you have any questions, contact Dr. Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas at 419.530.2343 or If emailing, please use the subject line "Neff Innovathon."

Last Updated: 10/12/22