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Invention Convention - Should You Participate?

Are you a young entrepreneur or a student flowing with new ideas to solve real-world problems? Then, the Invention Convention is a perfect opportunity for you to showcase your incredible talents.

The Convention serves as a center for inventors and innovators to connect, collaborate, and inspire one another, fostering a culture of ingenuity and advancement. With its diverse range of exhibits, workshops, and competitions, the Invention Convention works to help young students propel their creations from idea to reality.

What is the Invention Convention?

The Invention Convention is a prestigious annual event that brings together inventors, innovators, and creators from all sorts of fields to showcase their novel creations. The Convention connects individuals with new technologies and inventions to fellow inventors, investors, and industry professionals. The convention provides a unique opportunity for inventors to gain exposure, receive feedback, and potentially secure support for their creations.

The Invention Convention began in Connecticut, and was just bought by The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, in 2018, expanding to a national level to foster creativity, human ingenuity, and technological advancement across the country. The event has become a melting pot of sorts, providing a safe and encouraging space for inventors from different backgrounds to converge to exchange knowledge, collaborate, and create!

The competition at the Invention Convention is renowned for its high level of skill and prestige. Inventors are evaluated not only on the novelty and functionality of their creations but also on their potential impact on society and the market. Judges, consisting of experts in various fields, will carefully assess each invention based on its scientific merit, practicality, and market viability. Winning the competition at the Invention Convention brings not only recognition but also invaluable opportunities for networking, investment, and further development of the invention, serving as a launching pad for any entrepreneurs’ dreams.

Is the Invention Convention prestigious?

The Invention Convention is undoubtedly prestigious, serving as a national symbol of innovation and progress. It has earned a reputation for excellence and serves as a benchmark for ingenuity and technological advancement.

The convention's rigorous evaluation process, distinguished panel of judges, and the caliber of inventors who participate contribute to its esteemed status, alongside major sponsors and partners with universities and companies like Raytheon Technologies.

Winning or even participating in the Invention Convention is considered a significant achievement, as it signifies recognition and validation of an inventor's talent, creativity, and ability to make a meaningful impact in their respective field.

Who is eligible to participate in the Invention Convention?

Fortunately, the Invention Convention is open to almost everyone who wants to enter the world of innovation! From kindergarteners to high school seniors, all are eligible to participate in their local affiliate program of the Invention Convention, and further on with the Raytheon Technologies Invention Convention U.S. Nationals. All it takes to begin participating is to join your local affiliate program, which can be found here.

Timeline and Structure of the Invention Convention

The Invention Convention is broken up into two aspects, the local affiliate scene and then the US Nationals. Each local affiliate will have different schedules of when they will host competitions, hold deadlines, etc., thus refer to this link to check for the closest affiliate and their corresponding schedule. A typical yearly schedule consists of a virtual application of the invention, and then if chosen as a finalist, an in-person pitch and presentation of the invention to be ranked once more for Nationals.

Participation in the local scene is required for further participation at Nationals. Anyone who is invited to Nationals, which is determined by a high performance or recommendation from their affiliate scene, will have to register by early May. US Nationals will take place in early-mid June, at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, in Dearborn, Michigan. The competition consists of a pitch in front of judges and other fellow inventors, with a series of questions, and an award ceremony on the last day, which consists of awards, networking, cash prizes, and medals for all top inventions.

Pros and Cons of Participating in the Invention Convention


1. Gaining exposure, recognition, and validation for your invention and ingenuity

The convention offers an unparalleled opportunity to showcase your invention to a diverse audience of fellow inventors, investors, and industry professionals. Participating in the Invention Convention can bring credibility and recognition to your invention, with other people showing curiosity and interest in what you have created. It validates your innovative ideas and showcases your ability to create solutions that can have a real impact on society. Validating your own skills, while showcasing your ability to a large audience can serve as a jumping off point for your entrepreneurial endeavors.

2. Benefiting from consistent feedback from expert judges

The convention offers a chance to receive valuable feedback from experts and judges who evaluate your invention. Their insights can help you refine and improve your invention, ensuring its market viability and addressing any potential flaws or challenges. These pieces of constructive criticism and suggestions can be crucial in advancing your invention to the next level, especially if you are truly passionate about what you have created.

3. Garnering potential investment, funding, and patents

The Invention Convention attracts people actively seeking promising inventions and technologies to support, and even awards and aids with the patent application process. Participating in the convention can increase your visibility and attract potential investors who are interested in backing your invention financially. This opens doors to funding opportunities or partnerships with people who can accelerate the development and commercialization of your invention, allowing you to go from idea to creation to business. Check out this story, where Alex Knoll from Idaho, was able to appear on the Ellen Show, work alongside Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, as a mentor, and further present at the World App Developers Conference as the youngest CEO.

4. Meet other inventors and see their inventions as a source of inspiration and collaboration

The Invention Convention serves as an inspiring environment, exposing you to a wide range of groundbreaking inventions and cutting-edge technologies. Being surrounded by fellow inventors and their innovations can spark new ideas and collaborations. The convention creates an environment for people to meet and share ideas, forming new connections and ideas in each other’s minds. Meeting and networking with peers who are just as driven as you are can serve invaluable for your future career as you continue to grow.


1. Investing a lot of time and resources

Participating in the Invention Convention requires significant time, effort, and resources. From preparing and refining your invention to creating an impactful presentation, there is a considerable investment of time and energy involved. Outside of the intangibles, the creation of an invention worthy of the Convention can cost a lot of money in terms of building a prototype, and interactions through research and development.

Additionally, travel and accommodation expenses may be required if you do not live locally in Michigan, adding onto the costs of participation, even if the Convention is free itself. There are currently no scholarships or grants available publicly, but if you would like to participate, but cost is an issue, be sure to ask your school or any community or local organizations that would be willing to partially or fully fund your venture!

Should You Participate?

The Invention Convention is a unique opportunity for young innovators to get exposed to the world of entrepreneurship, and can serve as an invaluable launching pad to get exposure, connections, and investment.

However, there are significant financial factors that may prevent one from participating in the convention that The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation will not help with. Therefore, if you have the passion and resources to participate, there is no reason not to, but be aware of the costs that may incur throughout the process of creating your invention.

If you're looking for a real-world internship that can help boost your resume while applying to college, we recommend Ladder Internships!

Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! 

The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas. The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 

The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism and more.

You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship.

In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!

Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!

Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. 

These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 

The AI Fellowship program will have students pursue their own independent AI research project. Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the field of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here

Location: Virtual


  • $1,790 for the 10-week AI Scholars program

  • $4,900 for the 12-15 week AI Fellowship 

  • $4,700 for both

  • Need-based financial aid is available. You can apply here

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. Applications for fall cohort have closed September 3, 2023. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort

Program selectivity: Moderately selective

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 

Conducting advanced research is another great way to build new skills, take charge and expose yourself to new perspectives. It can also boost your profile for scholarships and competitions! If you want an opportunity to build your own independent project and research paper, then consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program. Last year over 2100 students applied for about 500 spots in the program. You can find the application form here.

Aaron Zheng is a sophomore at Harvard University, studying Bioengineering. He is passionate about biotechnology, business development, and aiding students to get to college, regardless of background. In his spare time, he looks to read, journal, and explore the world.

Image Source: Invention Convention logo



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