xTech Competition

New xTechHBCU competition offers over $130,000 in cash prizes to student innovators

Published: 04/19/2024

By Anna Volkwine, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army SBIR Program

Collaborating with Historically Black Colleges and Universities is key to xTechHBCU Student — the U.S. Army xTech Program’s latest competition, which launched on April 19 with a focus on integrating diverse perspectives from young innovators into the Army’s technology landscape.

Led by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, xTechHBCU Student is the third competition that targets undergraduate students at HBCUs, and provides an opportunity for these young innovators to pitch their novel technology concepts in support of U.S. Soldier capabilities. For this iteration, eligible students may participate individually or in a team of up to three, while earning money from a total prize pool of over $130,000, engaging with the Department of Defense, participating in an accelerator program, and potentially bringing their ideas to life by developing a prototype.

The topic areas for the latest xTechHBCU Student competition include autonomy, and power and energy. The competition will consist of two parts, which are pentachart submissions and the finals event.

Part One: Pentachart Submissions

Students will submit a two-slide pentachart, including an outline of their innovative idea, and how it relates to the problem statement and potential markets. A panel of Army and defense experts will review each pentachart following submissions.

The deadline for pentachart submissions is October 30, 2024.

Up to 15 finalists will receive $4,500 in cash prizes and will have the opportunity to participate in the xTechHBCU Student Accelerator, which is a cohort-based program designed to help students prepare for the finals event through educational programming and diverse mentorship.

Part Two: Finals

In addition to the opportunity to participate in the accelerator programming, finalist will also be invited to pitch during the finals event, at or around the 2025 Black Engineer of the Year Award STEM Conference in February 2025. The finalists will present their solutions to a panel of defense experts, who will select up to five winners to receive $18,000 for first place, $15,000 for second place, $12,000 for third place, $9,000 for fourth place, or $6,000 for fifth place. The remaining finalists will each receive $1,200.

For more competition details and to view the full RFI, please visit the xTechHBCU Student competition page. To learn more about how the xTech Program engages with the newest generation of innovators from HBCUs, read the success story featuring Deneen Royal, the first-place winner of the first xTechHBCU Student competition in February 2023.

About the xTech Program

Established in 2018, the Army xTech Program provides opportunities for direct exposure to laboratories, program executive offices and program managers across the Army. Participants receive detailed feedback from Army DoD stakeholders and have access to training, mentorship and networking opportunities.

This feedback helps guide businesses through the competition and determine where their solutions best align within the Army. The xTech Program holds several competitions per year. These include open-topic competitions such as xTechSearch and technology-specific competitions that target key Army challenges.

To learn more about current and upcoming competitions, please visit the xTech website at www.xtech.army.mil. You can also navigate to the bottom right of our homepage to sign up and hear about how your small businesses or academic institutions can develop game-changing technologies to address Army challenges. For any additional questions, you can contact us via email at usarmy.pentagon.hqda-asa-alt.mbx.xtechsearch@army.mil.


New xTechHBCU competition offers over $130,000 in cash prizes to student innovators

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