The Entrepreneurial Challenge 2016

Presented by Sikorsky Innovations

Spark What’s Next™

Submit Your Idea.  Win Cash.  Collaborate with an Industry Leader.


Sikorsky Innovations, the advanced research organization of a world leader in vertical flight solutions, is looking for your ideas!  Through the Entrepreneurial Challenge, now in its third year, the organization identifies potential collaborators that can help solve some of the toughest industry challenges.

Awardees will gain entry to an extensive network of technical experts, business mentors, strategic team members, potential customers and experienced investors.

Apply Today!


Sikorsky Innovations holds the Entrepreneurial Challenge to highlight and support revolutionary ideas, ventures and innovators whose technology is highly relevant to one of its identified focus area.  Each focus area (outlined below) represents current company technology needs for production aircraft and processes.

Sikorsky is looking for agile technology leaders across all industry domains that embody the entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and management style to complement the qualities of an established industry leader. The company encourages individuals or teams incubating new ideas around the globe, whether working in a garage or in a Fortune 500 company, to apply.  


  The Winner of the competition will be eligible for a $25K non-dilutive cash prize.

  Winners of the Entrepreneurial Challenge will also have the opportunity to:

  • Collaborate with Sikorsky to validate their products and explore opportunities.
  • Leverage the resources and network of the Stamford Innovation Center Stamford Innovation Center.
  • Access mentoring programs, education workshops, and events across Connecticut's entrepreneurial network, CTNEXT, for one year.
  • Receive an investment evaluation from the Sikorsky Entrepreneurial Panel during incubation.

  Most of all, Winners and Awardees of the Entrepreneurial Challenge will be able to leverage Sikorsky's     industry knowledge and relationships.

  In addition, Sikorsky reserves the right to name to other classes of award winners: Special Recognition   and Honorable Mention. 

  These two classes of awardees will also have the opportunity to work with Sikorsky to explore   opportunities. 

  All prizes and awards are subject to the Terms & Conditions found in the Application Package. 

Focus Areas

  1. Transparent or On-Glass Visualization Technology  
    • Background: Multiple sources of data are now available to support a) pilots who need to maintain visual awareness while obtaining new information or b) a passenger that wants information overlaid on the scenery outside. Robust, reliable systems to deliver that data are needed.
    • The Requirement: Hardware and/or software solutions that can transform any hard, transparent surface into an on-demand, interactive data center with sunlight readable quality. Solution would enable the overlay of multi-media data, including augmented reality applications, on the real time visual environment.
  2. Robust, high bandwidth data transmission to and from Internet of Things sensors/processors
    • Background: Two key use cases have been identified for robust, high bandwidth data transmission: 
      • Helicopter rotor blades, wind turbine blades, maritime propellers, jet turbine components and many other rotating elements are critical to the operation of modern vehicles. Sensors mounted on these components generate valuable real-time data pertaining to safety and reliability. But transmission of this data in real time is currently bandwidth and reliability limited.
      • High data rate, “underwater WiFi” communication needs are developing in multiple areas. Current technologies either have limited data rates or short working distances. Methods to improve the ability to transfer data faster and farther while underwater are needed.
    • The Requirement: A solution that creates and manages robust, reliable transmission of real-time data from either: a rotating element to a fixed frame, or, from one point to another underwater.
  3. Digital Manufacturing Tools for Real Time Defect Detection
    • Background: Complex precision parts are created from expensive raw materials, increasing the cost of scrap and rework. Early detection, even anticipation, of machining distortion or manufacturing errors could lead to zero scrap parts and significant cost reductions.
    • The Requirement: Digital manufacturing tools and technologies, including simulation, detection, corrective algorithms, and trend recognition, are sought as part of this envisioned solution to improve quality control in the production of precision parts.
  4. Next Generation Propulsion Technologies.
    • Background: The efficiency of engine technology has driven the performance advances of aircraft since the beginning of aviation, with the Brayton Cycle defining modern propulsion technology for the last half century. Other thermodynamic cycles exist with theoretically higher efficiencies and system level benefits unachievable with the Brayton engine.
    • The Requirement: Engine technology scalable up to 1000 hp and commercially available within the next decade.

Connect and Learn More

Keep up to date with all of the latest Entrepreneurial Challenge news and insights. Visit TechAloft, a blog curated by the Stamford Innovation Center, to keep up to date on all of the insights posted for each focus area by the Entrepreneurial Challenge team. Exclusive interviews and content from industry experts are posted regularly.


The current schedule for the 7th Entrepreneurial Challenge is as follows:

February 29, 2016 7th Entrepreneurial Challenge Released
April 2016 Webinar with Sikorsky Experts
May 20, 2016 (5 p.m. EST) Application Period Ends
May 2016 Final Round Contestants Notified
June 2016 Final Round Competition at Sikorsky
July 2016 Winner Notified

Awardee Portfolio

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The Entrepreneurial Challenge is open to any company, U.S. based or international, including newly-formed and pre-revenue entities, that meet the requirements defined in the 2016 Entrepreneurial Challenge Application Kit.

Application Submission

To create an account and submit your application to the Entrepreneurial Challenge in the form of a 5 page business summary Click Here.  

For a sample application template, please Click Here.

In the News

Sikorsky Innovations’ Entrepreneurial Challenge Continues to Evolve as Latest Winners are Named
Sikorsky Innovations Launches a Transformed Entrepreneurial Challenge to Embrace Entrepreneurial Agility
Sikorsky Innovations Announces Awardees of Second Entrepreneurial Challenge Competition
Winner of Sikorsky Innovations' First Entrepreneurial Challenge
05.03.13 Sikorsky Honors EvoLux for Innovative Helicopter Booking Software (AINonline)Sikorsky Innovations has selected EvoLux Transportation the winner of its second "Entrepreneurial Challenge Competition" for its in-development helicopter reservation system, targeted at... more
03.04.13 Industry Using Prize Challenges To Stimulate Innovation (Aviation Week) As budgets are cut and margins squeezed, and business becomes more competitive, industry is turning to challenges to seek diverse views on difficult problems. ... more
07.09.12 Pankl wins first Sikorsky Entrepreneurial Challenge (Boston Business Journal) A new spinoff of Pankl Aerospace based in Cerritos, Calif. that has developed an aircraft technology demonstrator incorporating... more
06.18.12 H.E.R.O Wins Entrepreneurship Competition (Aero News Network) A portfolio of potentially transformational technologies packaged into an aircraft technology demonstrator named H.E.R.O. has won the first... more
02.21.12 Generating High-Tech Ideas Ensconced in Historic Stamford (New York Times) STAMFORD, Conn. — TThe old Town Hall here, a Beaux-Arts building on the National Registry of Historic Places, has sat unused for 25 years... more
02.13.12 Incubate to Innovate (Aviation Week) One company taking on the issue of how to stay innovative across a broad front is helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft. ... more