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Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge

The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge is an exciting extracurricular competition that gives students the opportunity to come up with meaningful solutions to big problems the world faces today related to health. The competition is open to undergrads and grad students at accredited colleges and universities across the Cascadia Corridor – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, as well as Alaska.

2023 Awards and Honors

Learn more about the 2023 event and the winning teams

Endozene is developing a non-invasive, low-cost diagnostic kit to accurately predict if a patient is suffering from endometriosis.

Read more about 2023 winners

AMOR is developing a liver-support system that removes toxins more efficiently and offers patients more time to recover or receive a transplant.

Read more about 2023 winners

OneCourt is creating a handheld device that users can grip comfortably to make live sports accessible to blind and/or visually impaired fans through the use of a “haptic” language they developed to track what’s happening in real-time.

Read more about 2023 winners

LegUp Prosthetics is developing a modular, adjustable, below-knee prosthetic for children in low-resource communities.

Read more about 2023 winners

GenePedia created an AI-powered assistant for genetic counselors designed to help alleviate workload and provide support throughout genetic care.

Read more about 2023 winners

SmarTrach is developing a device that wirelessly monitors a tracheostomy tube and provides alerts when airflow is obstructed.

Read more about 2023 winners

Fight for 98 is developing a low-cost breast cancer screening device that combined innovative hardware design with machine learning algorithms to increase accuracy.

Read more about 2023 winners

piezopulse is looking to extend the battery life of even the most advanced pacemakers through the innovative use of materials that can harvest energy from the natural pressure differences in the heart.

Read more about 2023 winners

Competition Details


Watch the video above to learn more about HIC.

The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC)

This annual student (undergraduate and graduate) competition each March encourages innovative solutions for big problems the world faces today related to health. In the HIC, student teams from different schools and disciplines focus on a health or health care related problem, design a product, process, or service to fix that problem, and create a business summary that demonstrates the market interest and potential for their idea.

What is Your Idea?

Students can compete with any product, process, or service that highlights a new approach to wellness, to care and treatment, or to safety and access. This includes medical devices, therapeutics, digital health interventions, healthcare workflow solutions, ideas to address mental or community health, and more. Novel enabling technologies such as AI, CRISPR, and others have led to rapid growth of new innovations in recent years. This is an area where your creativity and passion can thrive!

Want to Learn More

Find information below about the Challenge timeline as well as eligibility information, entry requirements, and resources to help you prepare your application. You can also click here to view the recording from our Virtual Information Session for the 2023 HIC.

The application site opens for submissions on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 and applications are due by 12:00 noon on Monday, January 29, 2024. The competition begins with the initial online Screening Round between January 31 and February 7.

From the Screening Round, 21 teams are typically selected and invited to compete in the live Final Round held on Thursday, February 29, 2024.

View the schedule below for information sessions and workshops designed to help student teams prepare for the 2024 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge.

Competition Rounds + Deliverables for Advancing Teams

Event Date
Application Site Opens Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Information Sessions (optional)
In-person session (RSVP Coming Soon)

Virtual session (RSVP Available Late Fall)

In-person session (RSVP Available Late Fall)

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Wednesday, January 10
Tuesday, January 23


Deliverable: Submit 5-7 page Business Summary
(see REQUIREMENTS & CRITERIA tab below for examples of past submissions)

Monday, January 29
by 12:00 noon
Screening Round (Closed, Online Session—Judges Only) January 31 – February 7
Announcement of the 21 teams advancing to the Final Round
Teams will be notified by email after 2:00 pm
Thursday, February 8
Final Round Resource Night (Virtual)
Mandatory for all teams advancing to the Final Round
Tuesday, February 13
Pitch Workshop (Virtual)
Mandatory for all teams advancing to the Final Round
Tuesday, February 20
Final Round
Pitches + tradeshow-style event.
60-second pitch presented on stage
1-page business summary due Thursday, February 22
Thursday, February 29 (morning – evening)
Reception and Awards Ceremony
Networking reception and awards ceremony to
announce the winners directly follows the Final Round.
Thursday, February 29 (early evening)

Entry Requirements

Any student in good standing from a Cascadia Corridor – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, as well as Alaska – college or university who is enrolled in a degree-seeking program can participate in the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC). Teams must be student-led. Cross-disciplinary teams are highly encouraged. The most successful teams have members with various skill sets from various departments, including built environments, law, engineering, business, policy, etc. Non-students can be members of a team, generally as advisers, but they can’t present at the HIC, nor can they receive prize money.

What is needed to enter?

What is needed to enter the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge?
Prototype Funding (Optional; see Prototype Funding Tab)

All Entrants (see Dates and Deadlines tab)

  • 5 – 7 page Business Summary (Due Monday, January 30, 2023)

Top Teams chosen to come to the final event

  • Mandatory Resource Night (Wednesday, February 15, 2023)
  • Mandatory Pitch Clinic (Tuesday, February 21, 2023)
  • 1-page Business Summary (Due Thursday, February 23, 2023)
  • 60-Second Pitch and Presentation of Demo/Prototype at the HIC (Thursday, March 2, 2023)

Your submission into the competition is distributed to a large group of community professionals who act as judges.

We strongly encourage any team with concerns regarding intellectual property such as patent or copyright potential to either contact their University’s intellectual property office (for University-developed discoveries) or competent legal counsel (for non-University related discoveries) before submitting their proposal into the competition.

The University of Washington, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, the Foster School of Business, and the organizers of the competition are not responsible for any proprietary information and/or intellectual property included in a submitted business summary.
Ultimately, protection of sensitive materials is the sole responsibility of the individual or team participating in the competition.

Photo and Video Disclaimer
By attending Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship events in-person, online, or otherwise—participants grant the Buerk Center permission to the rights of their image, likeness, and recorded voice, without payment or consideration, for non-commercial use. Participants must understand that there is no time limit on the validity of this release, nor are there any geographic limitations on where these materials may be distributed. Students, judges, mentors, and all other related parties to events may request photos for use following the event in question. Requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Attribution/Courtesy must be included with all photo/video use. The Buerk Center retains the right to request photos/videos be removed from third-party websites, distributed materials, and/or similar media. University of Washington licensing and other media-related policies related to the UW Brand can be found here.


  1. Teams entering must have at least one full-time or part-time student on the team who is enrolled in good standing in a degree seeking program at an accredited college or university in the Cascadia Corridor – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, as well as Alaska. If you graduated the summer quarter prior to the year of the competition or later, you are considered a current student in the competition under these rules. Please contact us to discuss your eligibility.
  2. The competition entry must be developed during the student’s tenure at the college or university. Students working with outside entrepreneurs must create their own original business plan and have responsibility for their own portion of the business.
  3. All submissions to the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge must live up to the higher ideals of the University of Washington. The team’s idea must be appropriate for a university-sponsored event. The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is its judgment violates the letter or the spirit of the competition or exceeds the bounds of social convention.
  4. If the team or company entering the competition is revenue positive, actual annual revenue cannot exceed $500k. (Please note this is different than the company’s projected revenue. This rule does not apply to projected revenue.)
  5. Eligible students can form a team with non-students, but for the sake of this competition, non-students will be considered as advisors.
  6. Students must have an ownership stake in the business or the potential for equity or employment.
  7. Only student team members are eligible to earn prize money. No payments will be made to non-students.

Note: The Director of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship reserves the right to make the final determination of the eligibility of submitted business ventures.

2023 Prizes:

$15,000 Grand Prize, WRF Capital
$10,000 Second Place Prize, The Herbert B. Jones Foundation
$5,000 Third Place Prize, Fenwick & West

Best Idea Prizes ($2,500)

The Best Idea prizes were created to reward student teams in the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge for their exceptional work in several distinct categories. The teams are selected by a special group of judges during the live Challenge. Please note that no team can take more than one Best Idea prize, but can also win one of the main prizes.

Best Idea for a Medical Device, IntuitiveX
Recognizes the medical device concept (for a physical product) with the most promising opportunity to significantly improve the lives of patients or providers.

The Kent & Lisa Sacia Best Idea in Digital Health Prize
Recognizes an innovative digital health application that has a high likelihood of being implemented in practical healthcare situations and is expected to have a meaningful impact.

The Jim & Timmie Hollomon Best Idea for Addressing Health Access and Disparities Prize
Recognizes a student innovation or intervention that seeks to close the gap in health disparities for low-income and disadvantaged groups by increasing access to point-of-care healthcare services and/or addressing systemic biases within the current healthcare system.

Best Idea for Patient Safety, Patient Safety Technology Challenge
Recognizes a technology-enabled solution that aims to improve patient safety through the reduction of medication-related errors, medical complications with patient care, procedure/surgery-related errors, infections, and/or diagnostic errors.

2023 Partners

Thank you to our 2023 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge partners for their generosity and dedication to helping students achieve their potential.

Game Changers:
The Hollomon Family
Kent and Lisa Sacia
WRF Capital

Herbert B. Jones Foundation
UW College of Engineering

Fenwick & West
Pack Ventures
Perkins Coie
Science & Engineering Business Association (SEBA)
Patient Safety Technology Challenge
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center


Screening Round Requirements

  • 5-7 Page Business Summary

The first hurdle on your path toward the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge finals is to submit a winning business summary so your team is selected to be one of the Top Teams who are invited to participate in the final Challenge.

What should be included in the 5-7 page business summary?

    • Definition of the Problem
      • Who cares about this problem? What will be different if you solve this problem? What is the size of the problem?
    • Proposed Solution
      • What is your idea for solving the problem you are addressing?
      • What is unique about your solution.
      • Why would customers be excited enough to pay you for your solution?
    • Team
      • Who are the individuals on the team? Do they have the skills to solve the problem? Have they engaged advisors, mentors, and experts from the community or industry?
    • Description of the DEMO
    • Market Opportunity
    • Impact
      • Environmental
      • Energy Use
      • Social
      • Ethics
      • Equity
      • Healthcare Access
      • Supply Chain
      • Community
      • Employee Engagement
    • Questions you should address (use your own format and style)
      • Have you defined the problem?
      • Have you clearly described the proposed solution?
      • If there is a demo, what is it? (prototype, simulation, proof of concept, poster, video)?
      • Is the solution original or is it a novel application of an existing product or service?
      • Has the team researched and described the market opportunity and the competitors?
      • Has the team interviewed potential customers? How many? What did they say?
      • What is the scope of the opportunity (dollars, units produced, global impact)?
      • Does the solution fit the problem? Does it demonstrate an appropriate balance between the cost of the solution and its impact on the problem?
      • What is an estimate of the cost to produce?
      • What is the estimated timeline for development leading to launch of the product/service?
    • Examples:

In order to prepare your own business summary, use this Submission Checklist, which includes the judging criteria judges will be using in the Screening Round to evaluate all entries.

Final Round Requirements

Top Teams that are invited to the final event must prepare:

      • 1-page business summary
      • 60-Second Pitch (practiced at mandatory Pitch Clinic)

If your team makes it past the screening round you will be invited to participate in the live half-day competition final event. There the Top Teams have tables set up trade-show style with their prototypes on display. A member of each team gives a 1-minute pitch to the audience of 150+ professionals who will be judging and the judges then circulate and learn more from teams before picking their top choices for the prizes.

The Top HIC Teams that present on the day of the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge finals will be judged on their 1-page business summary, their pitch, their demo or prototype, and the potential for impact.

What should be included in the 1-page business summary?

  • The criteria and contents for the 1-page business summary are the same as those for the 5-7 page summary (above), just shorter and more concise.

What matters for the 1-minute pitch?

  • How motivated, enthusiastic is the team?
  • Does the pitch convey the essential elements of the problem, the solution, and the market opportunity?
  • Does the team understand the problem/solution (from both technical and marketing perspectives)?
  • Has the pitch generated enthusiasm to see the demo?

What should the demonstration or prototype table setup include?

  • Does the Demo work? If it is not yet complete, could it work?
  • Has the team provided test results and validation?
  • Can the team describe the process and how it works?
  • Can they describe how it could be improved?
  • Is this solution efficient? Does it make optimal use of resources?
  • How practical is this solution?
  • What would it cost to make?
  • Is this original work? Is it a novel application of an existing product? Is it off-the-shelf?

What questions should be answered for the potential for impact?

  • Could this team and this solution have a substantial impact in the market? In healthcare? In people’s lives?
  • Is there a patent in the works?
  • What is the regulatory path, if necessary?
Interested in entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge? Want to meet other students who want to join your team? There are multiple ways to find team members:

  1. StartupTree
  2. Team Formation Events
  3. Health Innovation Practicum
  4. Capstone Course in Your Major

As long as you have one student on the team who is enrolled in a college or university in the the Cascadia Corridor – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, as well as Alaska, your team can enter the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge.

Questions? Contact Jessica Roberto via email: [email protected]

  • StartupTree
    Find teammates through UW StartupTree online. Students log in with their UW net ID. In this web portal you will find some students who have an idea and need more team members to help out and you will also find students with specific skills who are interested in innovation and want to join a team. Think of it as a match-making site for innovators!
  • Team Formation Events (or How to Find Your People) 
    Attend an event around campus to meet other students interested in life science innovation and the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge. Visit the Events section on UW StartupTree or look for Buerk Center events through the UW Foster website to learn more.
  • Health Innovation Practicum
    The fall quarter hands-on Health Innovation Practicum course is another way students can dive in and learn about health challenges while working on team-based projects. Many of the class teams decide to continue on into the extracurricular Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge where they will connect with mentors and further develop their concepts. Learn more in the Health Innovation Practicum: ENTRE 445/545 tab.
  • Capstone Course Teams
    You may be in an engineering, science, or other major that requires a capstone project as a degree requirement. Why not build on that capstone by bringing it in to the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge where the visibility of your accomplishments can be increased and mentors you connect with can help you take it to the next level?

Health Innovation Practicum

ENTRE 445/545 | Autumn Quarter | 2 credits
Thursdays, 4-5:50 pm

Instructor: William J. Canestaro, PhD, Managing Director, Washington Research Foundation/WRF Capital[email protected]

About: This course is designed to give students an overview of the challenges that are necessary for any young business in healthcare or life sciences to consider. Healthcare is an industry that, at its best, is built around strong reproducible science with healthcare providers acting as the patient’s agent. This places the consumer in a different position than other markets where they are more in control of their purchases. As such, those working in the area will need to have a grasp of the concepts of entrepreneurship as well as a strong understanding of when the traditional rules of economics and entrepreneurship no longer apply.

Learning Objectives: By the end of the course students should expect to have an awareness of the system of regulation of health technologies, the process of development for health technologies, and the economics of healthcare.

Class Project
In addition to attending and participating in all classes as an individual student, you will also be expected to complete a Class Project as part of a team that will be assigned to you. This project touches on all of the domains (background science, clinical research, regulatory considerations, economics and reimbursability, ethics) that we have discussed in class. There are 2 ways to complete this project. You can review a technology or healthcare area (pre-approved examples below, alternatives only by permission of the instructor) or you can review a single technology or business idea. Teams will conduct 3 Domain Expert interviews in support of this project.


  • Class Participation and Pre-Class Questions (10%)
  • Peer Reviews (10%)
  • Interview Reports (15%)
  • Final Presentation (25%)
  • Final Paper (20%)
  • Weekly Reports (20%)

Class Plan
The following class plan from 2022 illustrates the course design. Speakers, topics, required readings and assignment deadlines are subject to change.

Date Topic Confirmed Class Speakers
Class 1: 9/29 Course Overview & Project Intro ·      None
Class 2: 10/6 Defining the Problem & Exploring Solutions ·      Jessica Roberto,

Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

Class 3: 10/13 Overview of the US Healthcare System
  • Richard Proscia, Providence Ventures
  • Dan Low, AdaptX
  • Chris Damman, SuperGut
  • Tom Lendvay, Tend Health
  • Sravanthi Parasi, Swedish
Class 4: 10/20 IP in Healthcare and Life Sciences
  • Fiona Wills, CoMotion
  • Arna Ionescu Stoll, Wavely Diagnostics
Class 5: 10/27 Regulation of Health Technologies ·      Mike Willingham, Google Health

·      Daniel Silva, Monod

Class 6: 11/3 Evidence in Healthcare and Life Sciences
  • Sam Browd, Proprio
  • Jenny Cronin, AI2 Incubator
  • Chris Blackley, Prescryptive Health
Class 7: 11/11 Health Insurance and Health Systems in the US: Health Economic and Quantifying Value
  • John Cake, Premera Blue Cross
  • David Younger, A-alpha Bio
Class 8: 11/17 Financing for Health Startups ·      Donald Summers, Altruist Partners

·      Panel of Local Investors

Class 9: 12/1 Exits
  • Kate Nelson, JP Morgan
  • Ryan McRobert, Fenwick & West
Class 10: 12/9 Final Presentations ·      None


Sacia Digital Health Innovation Workshop

The Sacia Digital Health Innovation Workshop brings together students from across campus to work on digital solutions to pressing problems in the healthcare system. Student participants in this hackathon-style event will learn about the unique challenges of this space while receiving feedback from stakeholders and changemakers in the field. Participants will also learn how to turn their solutions into entries for the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge and other Buerk Center Competitions.

The workshop is open to UW undergraduate and graduate students interested in computer science, life sciences, healthcare, or entrepreneurship. No prior programming experience necessary.

Click here to learn more about the 2021 Sacia Digital Health Innovation Workshop

Prototype Funding for teams entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge

Prototype funding can spur development and help convey your idea to a broader audience. We have funding available to teams that are entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge this year to help with creating a physical model, object, or device.

Learn More: Prototype Funding Application

Apply for Prototype Funding
Deadlines: December 1, 2022 | January 12, 2023

Open to registered students attending WA colleges or universities.

Student teams are invited to apply for funds that can be used to:
  • Purchase materials
  • Rent equipment
  • Pay for access to makerspaces and pay-for-use research facilities

Teams must commit to entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge if they accept prototype funding.

Awards are generally between $500-$2500, although other requests will be considered.

Funds can NOT be used for:
  • Marketing
  • Business cards
  • Displays
  • Signage
  • Computers
  • Digital devices
  • Legal or professional fees
  • Third-party software or app development
  • Paying team members or consultants
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
Information you will need to complete the application:
  • Current student team member’s information (we understand this may change).
  • Description of the problem you are attempting to solve.
  • Description of the solution you are proposing.
  • Description of the prototype you will build to demonstrate your solution.
  • A budget estimate (itemized list) to build your prototype. Changes are expected but any major changes must be approved by a competition manager.

Teams will be notified of the amount of funding they will be awarded 2-3 weeks after the deadline.

Resources to Help You

Resources to help you with your 5-7 page business summary for entry into the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge include:


Connect to other entrepreneurship students to build teams and learn from each other. Learn more about UW StartupTree.

Entrepreneurship Events

Attend an event to meet other students interested in entrepreneurship and the competitions. Visit the Events section on UW StartupTree or look for Buerk Center events through the UW Foster website.

Startup Resources

Need help figuring out where to do market research, how to write up a business summary, or prepare an elevator pitch? Links to great resources can be found on our Startup Resources page.



Health Innovation Practicum | ENTRE 445/545 | Thursdays, 4:00-5:50pm, Fall Quarter. Team-based course covering the fundamentals of healthcare and startups. The course is helpful, but not required for entering the competition. See Health Innovation Practicum tab.
Business Plan Practicum | ENTRE 440/540 | Tuesdays, 6:00-7:50pm, Winter Quarter. Speakers and resources that will help you understand how to build a business.

Questions? Contact Jessica Roberto via email: [email protected]

Join the conversation & keep in the loop on dates and deadlines:

Connect with the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge