The LaunchPad event offers a unique platform for first-time entrepreneurs who have created a technology product intended to impact world language education.
How it works
Five startup companies pitch their technology innovation to a lively online audience from the world language education community. A panel of highly specialized judges provide feedback and select a winner based on the pedagogical merits of the product. The winner receives formal recognition in the form of an honorary plaque. Additionally, a People’s Choice award is determined by the audience and also receives an honorary plaque.
How to enter the competition?
First-time entrepreneurs with an innovative technology product for world language education are encouraged to apply (see criteria below)!
November 15, 2021
Exposure to thousands of language educators and several successful companies in the field through the Tech Center news and website.
The Tech Center will add your company to its network of 31 language programs at 21 leading institutions of higher education and will invite your company to participate in select targeted Tech Center-sponsored events and projects.
Past participants will provide mentoring for the competition.
Inclusion in our network of innovators, which includes highly specialized professionals in the field of language learning technology.
Winners will be featured in promotional materials for the event.
The LaunchPad Award is given to a single finalist and is determined by a group of judges appointed by the Tech Center. Judges typically include Flagship stakeholders (program directors, teachers, and students), leadership of established companies, and potential investors.
LaunchPad judging criteria:
- Flagship Fit: the product has potential to be used in the Flagship context. Learn about The Language Flagship here.
- Product Alignment: the product’s purpose is aligned with its affordances, features, and functions.
- User Experience: the product supports user engagement and the user experience through a well designed user interface.
- Innovation: the product utilizes innovative approaches and/or technology to address a need in technology-enhanced language learning and/or teaching.
- Pitch Quality: the product pitch is well structured, convincing, and utilizes visual media in effective ways.
Companies must meet the following criteria:
- Must be a seed- or early-stage company (must not have raised over five million in funds from combined funding sources) with a main focus on the language education market.
- Have a language technology product designed (or adaptable) for use in higher education.
- Have a language technology product, process or service in use by customers or early beta (testing) customers at time of application.
People’s Choice Award
Voted live by the LaunchPad audience
The People’s Choice Award is determined at the end of the competition and is based on a simple majority of votes. Only one LaunchPad finalist receives this award. The awardee may or may not be the same recipient of the LaunchPad Award selected by the judges.
Companies may present only one technology product, process or service and are responsible for protecting their own intellectual property (IP) rights.
Each company has an equal amount of time to present but may opt to forgo presentation time for feedback.
The LaunchPad Competition started in 2017 and was inspired by the the Japanese TV show Dragon’s Den, and its U.S. successor, Shark Tank. LaunchPad is designed to facilitate early dialogs between startup companies and world language professionals.