The Entrepreneurial Challenge 2017

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, 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. 




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.
  • 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.    Distributed, Reconfigurable MEMS Sensor Network

  • Background: Modern aircraft rely on sensors to provide critical information on the current state of key components and systems to the onboard Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS). HUMS is fully integrated with the aircraft, and as a result are difficult and/or expensive to augment or change as new potential aircraft issues arise during the decades-long lifespan of the aircraft that would benefit from monitoring to keep the fleet flying.
  • The Requirement:  Environmentally robust (extreme operational temperature range, wet, high vibration), multi-functional, plug-and-play, interoperable sensors available in several modalities (strain, vibration, and temperature) and in a very small form factor that can augment existing HUMS network. Wireless data transmission preferred, but not required. Local energy harvesting, remote wireless power or battery powered with > 12 months of operating time preferred, but not required. Ease of network integration into existing aircraft, reconfigurability, and network weight are especially important. Hardware and software components that could be a critical sub-system of the final solution are also sought.

2.    Adaptive Communications for Assured Data Exchange

  • Background:  Increased use of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum can create issues for high bandwidth data and voice transmission between dispersed platforms, such as airplanes and ships. Such issues are not unlike those facing large commercial data networks today, including multi-path and fading issues experienced on 3G, 4G and emerging 5G capabilities.
  • The Requirement:  Hardware and software solutions sought that can increase data bandwidth and reliability. Unique waveforms, increased frequency recognition and switching, and situationally aware, cognitive radio technologies are all examples of potential solutions. Potential solutions do not need to be limited to FCC frequency restrictions.

3.    Advanced Sensor Fusion

  • Background:  Today’s sensors output a tremendous amount of raw data that must be correlated, synchronized and simplified in order to provide useful input to a pilot or automated control system. There’s the potential for significant increases in reliability of this data if sensors could be seamlessly integrated into a single, cohesive data environment.
  • The Requirement:  Software and algorithms capable of combining previously disparate sensor data into a single data stream for either output to display interfaces or used as an input to advanced navigation systems. Algorithms that can simultaneously correlate and cross-check for data validity would be ideal. Interoperability with existing, Sikorsky optionally piloted data architectures and APIs strongly preferred.


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 8th Entrepreneurial Challenge is as follows:

April 4, 2017

8th Entrepreneurial Challenge Released

May 2017 (Details TBA)

Webinar with Lockheed Martin Subject Matter Experts

July 14, 2017 (5 p.m. EST)

Application Period Ends

August 2017

Final Round Contestants Notified

August – September 2017

Final Round Competition at Sikorsky Headquarters (Stratford, Connecticut)

October 2017

Winner Notified


Awardee Portfolio



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

Nov 29, 2016 - Sikorsky Innovations Names 7th Entrepreneurial Challenge Awardees
Feb 29, 2016 - Sikorsky Innovations Names Entrepreneurial Challenge Winner and Launches 7th Competition