New Thinking and Innovative Ideas in Music

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Description of Contest

The Eastman New Venture Challenge is a contest to encourage new thinking and innovative ideas in music. It gives students the opportunity to develop a project proposal that could result in the launch of a new entrepreneurial initiative.

Entries may be from individuals or teams of up to four students. Entrants must create and present a project proposal that demonstrates creativity and potential for success. The proposals will be evaluated in a preliminary round by a panel of judges who are experts in the field. Two to four student entries will be invited to participate in the final round where each initiative will be evaluated on both the written proposal and an oral presentation. Successful entrants will have demonstrated creativity, innovation, uniqueness, and added value to the music field. Workshops and team consultations are available to students through the Institute for Music Leadership.


First prize: $2,000*; Second prize: $500*
*Seed money for development of student ventures along with advisory support from Eastman's Institute for Music Leadership. Prize money may be taxable. Entrants should consult their tax advisor. Prize money will be rewarded as reimbursement for project expenses. Original receipts and an invoice are required.

Important Dates



New Venture Challenge

Fact Sheet


New Venture Challenge Brochure


Proposal Application

Deadline: April 11, 2016

More Information

Examples of Potential Ventures

  • New Product Prototype
  • Single Event/Series of Events
  • Improvement on an Existing Service/Product
  • Launching a Music-related Company or Non-Profit Organization


  • The contest is open to all students who are enrolled full-time in a University of Rochester degree program and are in good academic standing.
  • Entries can be by individuals or teams of up to four members.
  • Project Proposals must be original work.

What to Submit

A project proposal (suggested 3-5 pages) that includes:

  • Summary of Proposed Project
  • Description of Company/Organization/Venture
  • Product or Service
  • Market Analysis
  • Strategy and Implementation
  • Management Team
  • Financial Plan


  • Judges will be selected from experts in the field.
  • The Eastman New Venture Challenge reserves the right not to select a winner.
  • Several second prizes may be awarded.
  • Entrants are encouraged to seek advice from Eastman faculty and staff.

What is Entrepreneurship in Music?

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation grant to the University of Rochester began a dialogue among the Schools within the University that resulted in a much broader definition of entrepreneurship than is usually found in business. "Generating and transforming ideas into enterprises that create value" is a description that encompasses all areas of study and is the definition in use at the Eastman School.


NVC Slides

Business Model Generation

The Business Model Canvas

2015 Winning Ventures


Laptop Orchestra Live (LOL)

David Heid

View All Winning Ventures

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