Alaska Small Business Development Center

UAF Arctic Innovation Competition awards your bright ideas

February 22, 2024

The UAF Arctic Innovation Competition is Alaska’s original idea contest for innovators, creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. Ideas can be completely new, never invented or something currently made, reimagined or improved upon. AIC, started in 2009 by a CBSM professor, now awards over $45,000 in prizes and scholarships. Ideas are judged on five criteria; utility, novelty, feasibility, value and presentation.

From left to right, AIC judges Jon Bittner and Jessica Taft prepare for the main division of the 2023 Arctic Innovation Competition hosted at the Wedgewood Resort in Fairbanks AK, 4/22/23. (UAF Photo by Leif Van Cise)

The opportunities provided to innovators would only be possible with the unwavering support of donors, many of whom are Alaskan businesses. Supporters like our presenting sponsor, Usibelli Coal Mine, invest in the future of innovation through the Arctic Innovation Competition. Cash awards in the main division include a $15,000 grand prize and four $2,000 specialty Kicker prizes. The Kicker prizes recognize the best ideas in the following categories: Arctic, sustainability, climate adaptation, and submitted by an Alaska college student.

Competitors from the JR and Cub divisions, sponsored by Kinross Alaska, will share almost $4,000 in cash prizes and $14,000 in awards from Alaska 529 to start or add to an educational savings account.


Whether drafting up something fun and creative or a logical solution to change the world, AIC is the place to develop ideas and practice pitching. Competitors with an established product or business gain exposure and connect with potential investors. Past ideas have ranged from a fireproof grill, a sustainable rifle dry bag, to a nose cap, and even an app that can alert you when a dangerous animal is nearby.

Aside from cash prizes, AIC has helped innovators of all ages in many ways. Participants walk away with boosted confidence, a sense of community, knowledge from other presentations, and new soft skills in their business toolkit. You can learn more by visiting the AIC website.

The deadline for idea submissions is Friday, March 1, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. AKST.

Recent News

Apply by April 28th: SBA T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined Program

Congratulations to gBETA Alaska’s Cohort!

BuyAlaska: Move Your Money Month – Bank Local, Invest Local

SSBCI April 2024 Update

Wrangell Cooperative Association & FEMA Announce FEMA Assistance Now Available for Landslide Survivors