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Incubator-in-a-Box Implementation: Contests

Many of our partners using the 1M/1M Incubator-in-a-Box use contests to generate excitement in their communities, and select which entrepreneurs / intrapreneurs to incubate with 1M/1M.

Here are the best practices for running such contests:

1. Select the key dates:

  • Launch Date
  • Application Deadline: 6-8 weeks from launch
  • Announcement of Finalists: one week from application deadline
  • Final (s): one week from announcement of the finalists
  • Total: 8-12 weeks leading up to participants being chosen for the incubation program

2. Launch to Application:

  • Launch with email, blog posts, media coverage (if the contest is public), etc. to let the community know about the program
  • A detailed application form is offered as a screening tool.
  • From launch to application, make sure the 1M/1M Free Public Roundtables are publicized weekly to the community as a resource to prepare for the final application. Our most successful partners put the free roundtables on their events calendars, corporate calendars, etc. to ensure maximum participation. This not only creates excitement, but also helps the community get familiar with the 1M/1M program and its methodology.
  • Answer FAQs about the incubation program. 1M/1M provides a contact person to answer questions. Typically, partner also needs to have an internal contact point to answer FAQs.
  • Encourage the community to apply.

3. Choosing the Finalists:

  • A screening committee is formed consisting of members from 1M/1M and partner organizations.
  • Finalists need to be chosen on the merit of their application forms, with close attention to their commitment to using the program diligently. 1M/1M is like a gym. Just buying a membership won’t help in losing weight. Members need to use the machines and do the work. The members who are self-motivated and have personal discipline succeed the best. We should look for such applicants.
  • Once the finalists are chosen, they need to be informed, and briefed about the format of the finals, the requirements for the presentations they need to prepare, etc.

4. Finals:

  • Depending on the scope of the specific program, finals can be in-person events, or virtual events over Webex.
  • A panel of judges typically listen to all the pitches and deliberate off-line.
  • Winners are announced the same day (during the session with a 15 minute interlude), or later, by email.
  • Depending on the nature of the program, coverage is provided to highlight and celebrate the winners.
  • After the winners are announced, their 1M/1M membership accounts are set up.
  • Orientation kit to the 1M/1M program is provided as part of the initiation.
  • Multiple members on a winning team can access the program through one account, and can each attend the private roundtables.

5. Quarterly Contests:

  • We recommend that corporations run the contests on a quarterly basis to keep the excitement alive.
  • It also creates ongoing opportunities for people to compete and win entry into the program.