+Tufts: April 17 - 19, 2015

Tufts University students are organizing a three day event, inspired by the Archimedes Project's Ideation Lab model, that will bring together students from each of the universities colleges and programs to design a scalable social enterprise.

Interested in joining us as for dinner and as an audience member for the final pitch sessions on Sunday night?  Get tickets on eventbrite. Help raise seed funding for student entrepreneurs: check out their Indiegogo.

The application deadline has passed, but you can view the FAQ for more information about the event.


Not at Tufts and want to organize an Ideation Lab at your University?  Get in touch.


50 students in ten teams of 5 drawn from a pool of applications spanning every Tufts program will work with experts from academia, non-profits and business who will mentor students and judge their business pitches.


Each group will develop a sustainable, scalable business solution to improve sanitation in the peri-urban slum areas of Tamil Nadu, India.

Their goal will be to design an scalable for-profit enterprise that can prevent open defecation and associated water-borne diseases, such as rotavirus, which kill 1.5 million children in India each year. 

Pitch your business plan to judges for the opportunity to receive prize money, mentorship, and the possibility to launch!


Chase Center, attached to Carmichael Hall, Tufts University Medford Campus


Friday, April 17 at 6:00 PM to Sunday April 19 at 6:00 PM


  • The potential to make an impact and develop solutions to real-world problems which will help save lives. 
  • Work with an interdisciplinary team of students spanning programs across all of Tufts individual schools.
  • Develop your entrepreneurial chops and learn how to set up and run a lean start-up in a developing country setting.
  • Meet and network with professionals from the business, nonprofit, and academic worlds
  • Plenty of opportunities for socializing, eating, drinking, and merrymaking.



Why ‘Ideation Lab’?

We believe that the best way to come up with solutions to the most pressing issues is to bring many people from different backgrounds together and engage in the free, open exchange of ideas, striking the right balance between a competitive and collaborative atmosphere.  The format of the event is not quite that of a hackathon, in that participants know what problem they are tackling beforehand, while it is not quite that of a standard business plan competition either, as participants do not enter with preconceived teams and ideas.


Why focus on sanitation?

Waterborne disease is the second leading cause of death among children under five worldwide and is entirely preventable.  As far as prevention interventions go, improvements in sanitation have proven to be twice as effective as improvements in water treatment in reducing the incidence of waterborne disease.  Just watch this: http://www.ted.com/talks/rose_george_let_s_talk_crap_seriously?language=en.  This problem is entirely solvable and can be tackled through business solutions!


What majors/programs are participating in the Ideation Lab?

We are looking for applicants from ALL majors and programs across ALL of Tufts’ undergraduate and graduate institutions.  We believe students from every background will be able to contribute in their own unique ways and bring the unique ways of thinking that their individual academic backgrounds have provided them with to the table.


What will the composition of the teams look like?

We have done our best to craft each 5-student team to be as interdisciplinary as possible such that each team member will be able to contribute something unique.  Imagine what a team consisting of a Fletcher MIB student, a medical student, a chemical engineering student, a UEP student, and an undergraduate comp sci major can accomplish?  


What role will the mentors and judges play in the business planning process?

Our mentors have been selected based not only on their professional expertise, but also on their ability to work with students, as they will be leading workshops on their areas of expertise as well as rotating between the teams and providing critical guidance and advice during the brainstorming and design process.  The mentors will have the opportunity to discuss their individual thoughts on each idea on a panel in front of the students, facilitating the collaborative process.  The judges will be responsible for listening to the final business pitches of each team and selecting their favorite ideas.  Some of our mentors and judges will also give keynote speeches to students throughout the weekend.


How will the winning idea be selected?

After each team’s final pitch, the winning idea will be selected through a combination of the deliberation of the judges and a vote by the Ideation Lab participants.


What will be done with the winning idea?

The winning idea (conditional on its feasibility) will spend the next year going through its incubation phase in preparation for launch, receiving the necessary human and financial resources in the form of student fellows, mentorship, and seed money, and will have the opportunity to be considered for co-founding by the Archimedes Project.  Our goal is to launch the winning idea for a sustainable, scalable social enterprise on the ground in Tamil Nadu in the summer of 2016.  Perhaps most importantly, the person who we will select to ultimately assume the responsibility of being the CEO of this enterprise, who will work alongside students, mentors, consultants, and employees and partners on the ground, will need to be someone who is locally culturally and linguistically competent, has an entrepreneurial mindset, and is willing to commit to the enterprise full time for a number of years. 


Does my team’s idea need to win in order for me to help launch the enterprise/If my team’s idea wins, do I have to help work on the enterprise?

No, and no!  At the Ideation Lab, it will not be teams competing as much as it will be ideas competing against each other.  You are not obligated to ensure that your team’s idea follows all the way through to launch, nor do you even have to vote for your team’s idea if it makes it to the final three.  As a participant in the Ideation Lab and a new member of the Archimedes Project community here at Tufts, regardless of what team you are on, you may absolutely work on the winning idea and help it through launch if you so choose, but you should feel no obligation to do so. 


Will there be free food all weekend?

Yes, there will absolutely be free food all weekend: participants will be provided with 7 catered meals over the three day event to be exact.