Launch Forward

Ideate • Create • Pitch


With new challenges, bring new opportunities for innovative solutions. 2020 has brought many unforeseen problems that require unconventional ideas to solve those problems. Grand Valley State University invites any GVSU student who is interested in bringing their skills, and talents to create and pitch their ideas in 24 hours addressing the pressing problems of our time. 


Within 24 hours participants will address issues in one of the three themes.


Spaces - Since March of 2020, we had to rethink how we interact in the spaces that we operate in. From classrooms to offices, restaurants to stores, everyone had to make changes in how we operate within a space. How can the spaces we interact in be safer? How can spaces be smarter, and better designed? 


Connections - Much of the world have had to and still today practice social distancing. This has limited the way that we make new friends, build relationships, and have fun with others. How can we make new friends, build relationships, and have fun with others in a new way? How can we interact and learn more about each other while apart? 


Health/Wellness - Public health has taken priority for 2020. The threat of future pandemics still looms. How might we create solutions to prevent pandemics? How can we create ways for individuals to lead physically and mentally healthy lives? 


Participants will go through a crash course journey that an entrepreneur goes through. 


Ideate - The first and most important aspect of developing a successful venture is understanding the problems of the customer. What are the regular problems that others face? Who are these individuals? What are the specific problems? Students will learn more about the problems that they will address. 


Create - After gathering information and understanding the problem, participants will move towards creating a minimum viable solution. They will first create a Business Model Canvas, and work towards creating a prototype of a solution that addresses the customer's problem. 


Pitch - During the final leg of the event participants will pitch their ventures that they have created within 24 hours. This will be a 3 minute pitch, with 10 slides or less. Participants will be judged based on their customer discovery, business model canvas, presentation, minimum viable solution, and venture.

How do I apply?

Please complete the application form found here. If you are applying with a team, all team members must submit individual applications.

Who can participate?

This program is open to all GVSU students, both graduates and undergrad.  All majors are welcome.

Do I have to have a technical background to participate?

No! GVSU students of all academic and professional backgrounds are welcome!

Can I work on my own?

No!  The idea of this event is to bring students from different backgrounds and skill sets to solve some of the most pressing problems that our society and community is facing.  We need to work together to create great solutions!

How will the teams be formed?

Participants will work together in teams of 3-5 students. We strongly encourage participants to apply individually, and form teams at the event.  We will form teams based on interest and experience upon reviewing applications.

Do I need to come with an idea?

No! This program is focused on solving some of the most pressing problems that are resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Participants are encouraged to come with these problems in mind, but you don’t need to have an answer in hand.

What do the winning teams get?

Teams will have the chance to compete for $5000 in cash prizes.  In addition, teams will get access to tools, resources, mentoring, coaching and access to key partners from the community. 

Who Owns the IP from Launch Forward program?

The focus of the Launch Forward program is to provide an experiential learning opportunity. Ideas generated are, generally, in their very early stages, for which limited, if any, intellectual property is developed.


The entire team owns any intellectual property developed for this program.  If any of the students decide to start a company based on the idea, you own only what was written and completed during the Launch Forward program.


If a subset of the team decides to start a company they do NOT “owe” anything to any other team members for work done in and during the class. All team members are free to start the same company, without permission of the others. (We would hope that a modicum of common sense and fairness would apply.)

Mentors and Coaches

We highly value the participation of professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators as mentors and coaches.  Mentors will work with teams based on their experience and expertise. Mentors do not need to be available for the entire weekend. During the application process, mentors can indicate 2-3 hour shifts that best accommodate their schedule. 


Please complete the mentor application here

Information and Questions

For more information email Julian