In 1989, Charles and Janet Forbes ’40 provided an endowment to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to establish the Forbes Entrepreneurial Award, which encourages current, full-time undergraduate engineering students to consider the commercial potential of topics or processes they are studying.

Charles Forbes was motivated by his belief that engineers, with an appreciation of the business aspects of new ventures, can contribute significantly to a much needed increase in manufacturing and production-oriented industry in the United States. Accordingly, the award was intended to encourage engineering students to augment their academic design projects with a business plan, including the initial organizational, financial, marketing, and production aspects of a company based on their design results.


  • Applications must be submitted online. Click the Apply button to the right to access the online application.
  • All competition participants must currently be enrolled as full-time undergraduates at the University of Rochester. Only active UR undergraduate students in good standing are eligible to present in the competition and receive prize money.
  • At least one member of the team must be an undergraduate at the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.


  • Teams may consist of no more than five individuals and it is recommended to have at least two members on each team although an individual without team members is eligible to compete.
  • All deadlines for the current academic year are listed to the right.
  • The business model must be in the idea, development, or start-up stage. Entries for a business that is already earning revenue will not be considered.


Cash prizes have been made possible by the generous endowment gift from Charles and Janet Forbes ’40.

  • 1st Place: $5,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place: $1,000

Only students listed in the Team Member section of the Competition Application will be eligible for any prize money awarded. Prize money will be split evenly among all team members listed in the application. No exceptions.

If a competition entry is based on work completed for a class AND if any student(s) who contributed to said work but are not taking part in the competition, they must provide written consent to the Ain Center stating that they consent to use of their work and forfeit any claims to any prize money won.

Cash prizes are not tax-exempt. International students may have additional holds; please contact ISO with any questions.


Students, individually or in teams, compete by submitting a business plan for a manufacturing or technical business (often based on their senior design projects). Prize money of more than $1,000 has been awarded for outstanding projects. Applications must be submitted online by clicking the Apply button to the right.

Mentors are available to students intending to compete in Forbes and meetings can be arranged by contacting the Ain Center at AinCFE@rochester.edu.

Competitors will develop business plans for their manufacturing and/or technical ideas. Submissions must be received via the online application and must include basic information about the entrants, an executive summary of no more than five pages, an estimation of commercial applicability and market size.

Please contact Program Manager Heidi Mergenthaler with any questions about the application process.

Schedule of Events

Finalists will be invited to submit a video presentation to a distinguished panel of judges, and participate in a real-time Q&A with the judges via Zoom, to compete for the cash prizes.

2020 Winners

  • 1st Place: Rent & Play – Ayat Chowdhury
  • 2nd Place: Lambda – Tolga Aktas, Enyxa Poventud, Jianyuan Zhong
  • 3nd Place: Yolo Shadow  – Xueying “Shelley” Chen, Kaixin Li, Abdul Moid Munawar, Yawo Alphonse Siatitse, Vanshika Singhania

2019 Winners

  • 1st Place: EZ Water – Afnan Ahmed, Sara Anis, Syed Muhammad Miqdad, Claude Mulindi, Derrick Murekezi
  • 2nd Place: WetWare Systems – Nicholas Drogo, Andrew Kaseman, Scott McKinney, Oliver Ostriker, Bradley Smith
  • 3nd Place: HORN Empowers  – Emmanuel Gweamee, Amie Laurent Twizerimana, Terrikia Benjamin

2018 Winners

  • 1st Place: UR Connected – Allen Chen, Krista Pipho, Brandon Smart, Hetince Zhao
  • 2nd Place (TIE): BarterOut – Vlad Cazacu, Zixu Chen, Duncan Grubbs, Annmarie Hamburgen, Luis Nova
  • 2nd Place (TIE): HORN Empowers  – Maria Christina Gil Diaz, Paula Guerra, Emmanuel Gweamee, Amie Laurent Twizerimana
  • 2nd Place (TIE): Uptick – Sidhant Ahluwalia, Obed Badillo Moreno

2017 Winners

  • 1st Place: EcoFemina – Anis Kallel
  • 2nd Place: Proteus Medical – Chandler Woo, Edward Ruppel, Connor McBride
  • 3rd Place: Meliora Homes – Omar Soufan, Ibrahim Mohammad, Edgar Alaniz, Carlos “Yuki” Gonzalez

2016 Winners

  • 1st Place: Pollinate Publicity – Jeff Hrebenach, Morgan Mehring, Max Sims, Wilfred Wallis
  • 2nd Place (TIE): AnesthEZ – Syed Reefar Aziz, Rose Mbaye
  • 2nd Place (TIE): Scoliosis Brace Compliance – Marlen Mahendraratnam, Samuel Perakis

2015 Winners

  • 1st Place: Nullspace – Lucian Copeland, Alexander Matthers
  • 2nd Place: SimuClage – Isabella Cazacu, Brittanie Kilchoer, Jennifer Park, Melinda Vander Horst, Jacob Bohannon
  • 3rd Place (TIE): Blackout Games – Kedarnath Balaji Shashidhar, David Porter, Dan Hassin
  • 3rd Place (TIE): CampusFly – Ervis Vukaj, Rikesh Thapa, Nicholas Falcone, Charlie Kelman
  • 3rd Place (TIE): Teamo – Nick Brown, Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez, Anis Kallel

2014 Winners

  • 1st Place: UR DermMates – Kyle Fedorchak, Qihui (Fiona) Pu
  • 2nd Place: Hemo-Box – Courtney Astemborski, Chad Pickering
  • 3rd Place (TIE): Cognitive – Charlie Henick
  • 3rd Place (TIE): Ovlay – Joung Yoon (Felix) Kim

2013 Winners

  • 1st Place: Ovitz – Joung Yoon (Felix) Kim
  • 2nd Place (TIE): TrakOR – Sonja Page, Erin Schnellinger, Ankit Medhekar, W. Spencer Klubben, Matt Plakosh, Michael Nolan
  • 2nd Place (TIE): Formation 3D – Steven Trambert, Alex Feiszli, Eric Frank

2012 Winners

  • 1st Place: MonoMano – Travis Block, Sara Hutchinson, Dominic Marino, David Narrow, Martin Szeto
  • 2nd Place (TIE): Droplets, Inc. – Max Greenberg
  • 2nd Place (TIE): FloMaR – Margaret Fettis, Garrett Goss, Catherine Marando, Zachary Milstone, Kimberly Ornell

2011 Winners

  • 1st Place: OmNeo, LLC – Benjamin Freedman, Johanna Kelly
  • 2nd Place (TIE): DonDoff Solutions – Swapna Kumar, Jacy Bulaon, Frances Bell
  • 2nd Place (TIE): gluComfort – Elie Glik, Brett Sternfield, Zeyu Zhao
  • 3rd Place: Aegis Technology – Adam Kozak

2010 Winners

  • 1st Place: Arm EmBrace – Sara Ripp, Kerry Wang
  • 2nd Place: DPN Diagnostics – Nicole Telleri, Evan Vandegriff
  • 3rd Place: SimuMed Technologies – Justin Chang, Dan Mendelson

For Forbes winners from 1990 to 2009, visit the Hajim School website.


Presentation Event


Contact Heidi Mergenthaler, Program Manager.

Need an Idea?

Contact UR Ventures. UR Ventures has viable patents that can be used as the basis of a business idea.