The Rock Accelerator Award Program at Harvard Business School

Posted By SWatts on Dec 19, 2013 |

From The Staff of MBA

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The Rock Accelerator Award Program at Harvard Business School

Previously known as the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Award, the Rock Accelerator Award Program is a semi-annual competition held at Harvard Business School, fueling rivalry between entrepreneurs to develop a minimum viable product using the lean startup approach – a practice that leads products to the market with as little time lapse as possible. Winners of each competition are awarded a prize of $5,000 toward startup investment.

Criteria for competitive entries includes an outline of the team’s business idea and any recent progress made in developing it, a description of investments currently made into the product, and an explanation of how the product meets specific customer needs that are embedded into the idea of an MVP, and how with this idea the MVP can be realistically built. Details should include resources needed, cost, budget, etc. In addition, student teams of two to four people must have at least one MBA student at Harvard Business School.

In 2012, seventy-three teams of second-year HBS students submitted project proposals and a total of eight teams were announced winner in October 2012. In February 2013, the second round of competition took place, leading to a total of ten winning entries of first- and second-year students. Winners were judged by a panel of three faculty members and three impartial students judges. The final decision was announced by the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship.

Winning entries for the second round of the 2012-2013 academic year Rock Accelerator Award Program included Booya Fitness, an online platform for fitness videos created by fitness industry experts; EngagedHealth, a post-hospitalization service that addresses psychosocial issues in underserved patient populations to improve patient outcomes, reduce hospital readmissions, and reduce system costs; Lingua, a language education program that uses immersive methods to enable students to build practical and effective conversation skills; and TrackMaze, a sensor-based product that tracks customers’ shopping patterns through a store, sending real-time feedback information to the shop owners so that they can better cater store design and products to their customers’ wants.

Following the second round of the Rock Accelerator Award Program, students will be introduced to the New Venture Competition – another excellent opportunity for students to showcase their entrepreneurial ideas in exchange for the chance to receive funding to see their ideas come to fruition.