The Sikorsky Entrepreneurial Challenge
The Entrepreneurial Challenge is a competition held by Sikorsky Innovations to highlight and support revolutionary ventures in aerospace and beyond. Sikorsky is looking for agile small businesses and entrepreneurs to complement the qualities of an established industry leader and creatively address the toughest problems in vertical flight. Teams incubating new ideas as well as small businesses looking to expand through a relationship with Sikorsky are encouraged to apply.
Whether your product can enhance Sikorsky’s core business or create opportunities in new markets, the Entrepreneurial Challenge is used to identify future potential partners and increase collaborative efforts between the small business community and a world leader in vertical flight solutions. Selected entrepreneurs will join an extensive network of technical experts, business mentors, strategic partners, potential customers, and experienced investors working together to Spark What’s Next™.
Winners of the Entrepreneurial Challenge will have the opportunity to:
- Collaborate with Sikorsky to validate their product and explore partnership opportunities
- Leverage Sikorsky's industry knolwedge and relationships to potentially grow their client base.
- Be incubated in the Stamford Innovation Center with free workspace and use of their shared business services for up to one year. (optional)
- Access mentoring program, education workshops, and events across Connecticut's entrepreneurial network, CTNEXT, for one year.
- Receive an investment evaluation from the Sikorsky Entrepreneurial Panel following incubation.
The current deadlines for the Challenge are as follows:
Current Challenge Questions
- How can your offering utilize vertical flight to better serve or create new markets?
- How can your offering enhance transportation and mass transit using mobile devices and apps?
- How can your offering detect or learn to detect patterns in big, complex, unstructured data sets?
- How can your offering stop a speeding projectile or prevent an object from being seen, heard or identified?
- How can your offering allow a complex machine to know more about its own health and capabilities?
Frequently Asked Questions
- I’ve read through the Entrepreneurial Challenge Application Kit, and I am confused. I thought this was a business plan competition. I am correct that the first round application is only a 5 page business summary?
Yes, a 5 page business summary that conforms to the requirements outlined in the Entrepreneurial Challenge Application Kit is the requirement for the first round application. It is the intent of the Entrepreneurial Challenge to locate cutting edge products with a substantiated business plan, so emphasis in both the first and final judging round is placed on the team’s understanding of the technology/product and commercialization strategy. No formal business plan will be evaluated by the judging panel.
- My product applies to one of the Challenge Questions, but my business is based away from the New England area. Do I have to be willing to relocate?
No, relocation is not required. It is however suggested and considered valuable to have at least part of your team in Stamford, Connecticut. Relocating allows the entrepreneurial team to derive the most benefit from the collaboration, given the close proximity to Sikorsky world headquarters. Moving to Connecticut also provides access to the entrepreneurial community throughout the state, potential private and state funding, mentors, and workshops to help accelerate your business. It will not be considered when judging your submission, but please state in your application if you believe your team will not take advantage of the relocation option.
- I am a current college student that is trying to start a company, but I am not currently spending a full time equivalent on my idea. If my team is a new entrepreneurial venture, and winning the Entrepreneurial Challenge would allow us to start working on our idea, can we still qualify?
Yes, teams may do so. The rule is intended to convey that all applicants must be willing to dedicate a full time person to their venture if selected.
However, if your team does not have a full time equivalent person developing the idea, clearly state so in your application and explain the reasons for that. As the judging criteria in the Entrepreneurial Challenge Kit indicates, first round applications will be strongly judged on the competency of the assembled team, a category that would be given additional consideration if the venture is still maturing. All teams are strongly encouraged to show in their application that their team has both the management and technical experience necessary to mature and commercialize their offering.
- My small business has over 100 full time employees, but we have a product I believe would align with Sikorsky’s mission. Is there an opportunity for us to work with Sikorsky?
Sikorsky Innovations engages in investment and partnering opportunities with companies of all sizes that offer novel technologies and services. If you are a small businesses (defined as under 500 employees) but do not qualify for the Entrepreneurial Challenge, please contact us at EChallenge@sikorsky.com to set up a meeting.
- Can international applicants apply to the Entrepreneurial Challenge?
Yes, any team that meets the requirements of the Entrepreneurial Challenge (as outlined in the Application Kit) is eligible to apply. International applicants do not need to have a U.S. based subsidiary in order to apply.