Expanding the IQ Awards

Expanding the IQ Awards

Feeling innovative?

This is that time of year when BizWest solicits nominations for the IQ Awards, honoring the innovation quotient among Boulder Valley companies — except, this year, the program will be expanded to encompass Northern Colorado as well.

It’s only fitting. One of our predecessor publications, the Northern Colorado Business Report, founded the IQ Awards many years ago. It quickly was picked up by the Boulder County Business Report, even as it was discontinued in Northern Colorado.

But the time feels right to expand the program once again, given the incredible innovation coming out of Larimer and Weld counties.

This year’s program is scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Plaza Convention Center in Longmont. Categories won’t be finalized until nominations are submitted and vetted, but we typically see nominations in the aerospace, bioscience, business products, clean-tech, computer hardware, computer software, consumer products, Internet, mobile apps, nonprofits, and sports and outdoors categories.

The IQ event itself also is being expanded. The pitch-slam session will occur in the early afternoon, concurrent with a mini Innovation Summit. A reception at the end of the day will be followed by the awards presentation, including audience selection of the overall Innovation of the Year.

Here are the award categories and criteria:

Innovator(s) of the Year honors an individual entrepreneur or researcher. An entrepreneur will be considered for fostering a culture of innovation within his or her company, while a researcher or team will be considered for a major discovery or innovation.

Innovative Company of the Year recognizes a company for promoting a culture of innovation in the region.

Incubator/Accelerator of the Year honors an incubator or accelerator that has had a major impact promoting innovation in the Boulder Valley or Northern Colorado.

IQ Awards for Innovative Products or Services honors products and services that have demonstrated a high degree of innovation, with strong market potential. Up to seven honorees will be named for innovative products or services, broken down into categories.

Judges are looking for products or services that are truly “innovative” — entries that stand out from the crowd, ideas that are very creative and perhaps even unique.

Judges review innovations from both new companies and those already successfully doing business.

The idea should be one that can lead to a “sustainable” successful business. For example, one that is not just a design on a napkin but a product or service that has the best potential to help build or grow a successful company.

The product or service should be introduced during the last 18 months in the marketplace, or at least in a testing or beta situation where actual or potential customers already are using it.

The product or service doesn’t have to have made money, but it must show a potential for profitability and survival of the business.

Priority will be given to ideas that are clever, unique, creative; not on “slickness” of marketing materials. A company that has won a previous IQ Award can win again for an entirely new product or service.

Submit nominations at www.iqawards.com.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1942, 970-232-3133 or via email at cwood@bizwestmedia.com.

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