Clapp IDEA Competition

Have an idea? Want to win up to $20,000 to launch your student start-up?

The Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosts the Clapp IDEA Competition annually. The competition provides you the opportunity to pitch your idea to investors who want to help you succeed.

Teams with innovative and well-thought-out business ideas compete in April each year to win up to $20,000. In addition, there are mentors to help you through the business planning process. All you need to start off with is an idea and the motivation to turn it into a business.

For detailed information, please refer to the important dates and links below. Register early so we can begin providing you with competition details.

2021 Vernon Clapp IDEA Competition Timeline

  • Register by March 1​
  • Submit business plan by March 8  ​
  • Present business plan virtually on April 16

Competition entry is free. If you have any questions, please contact

Registration is now closed.

View submission requirements and instructions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Monday, March 1, 11:59 p.m.: Registration closes
  • Monday, March 8, 11:59 p.m.: Idea plans due
  • Monday, March 15: Finalists notified
  • Thursday, April 15, noon: Final round presentations due
  • Friday, April 16: Clapp IDEA Competition

The competition is open to all Indiana University students (including graduate and undergraduate) in any course of study.

Yes! Part of the innovation process is iterating and changing. You are not locked in to the idea you submitted for registration.

Yes, but the summary section will be sent on to the competition judges in its submitted form. It is recommended that you stay as close to the summary as possible after you submit your business proposal.

Once you register, we will pair you with a Kelley MBA coach to help you along the way. We will also communicate to registered competitors when we hold workshop-type events. Additionally, business coaching will be available via Zoom. Please e-mail to schedule your coaching session.

From February 8 to March 8, business coaching will be available:

  • Mondays: 11 a.m. to noon and 5 to 6 p.m.
  • Tuesdays: 3 to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 11 a.m. to noon and 5 to 6 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 3 to 4 p.m.

It’s okay! The business proposal is designed to be as user-friendly as possible and your Kelley MBA competition coach will help you along the way.

  • 1st Prize: $20,000
  • 2nd Prize: up to $5,000
  • 3rd Prize: up to $2,500

For the safety of all participants, the 2021 Clapp IDEA competition will be hosted virtually via Zoom. Participants will be provided with the necessary Zoom information and schedule prior to the day of the competition.

Sponsored by the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Vern Clapp of Clapp Investment Ltd.

For additional questions, email