The Hatchery is an on-campus program for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship that fosters entrepreneurship initiatives and the development of student-led startups. The program is open for all Cal Poly students interested in learning about starting a business and how you get from an idea to a company.

Through mentorship, weekly workshops, startup assignments, and an array of other activities and events, students will gain hands-on experience in launching a company. They will develop essential entrepreneurial skills in communication, goal setting, and leadership. The Hatchery bridges the silos that separate students in their respective colleges with the philosophy that multidisciplinary teams are essential to the success of building a business.

The main pillars of The Hatchery include:

  • Weekly Workshops– Participants  in The Hatchery will meet for weekly workshops designed to provide an interactive framework for teaching entrepreneurial lessons. Instead of the standard “lecture,” mentors will facilitate discussions and activities geared toward various startup topics, such as customer development, pitching, finance, and market analysis.
  • Shared Office Space– 24-7 access to The Hatchery will be granted to participating students that have met certain criteria of business development and commitment. Access will be determined by the CIE Innovation Coordinator, Director of Student Innovation Programs and The Hatchery Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) on a rolling basis. Hatchery teams with 24-7 access will be able to use the facility for meetings, brainstorming, and working on their business as well as for networking with other Hatchery teams. (Hatchery engagement is a requirement for utilization of the space.)
  • Peer Network– The peer network that develops organically at The Hatchery is invaluable. Being surrounded by a group of like-minded and driven individuals cultivates a culture of shared-learning and creativity that’s unique to The Hatchery. Roundtable discussions encourage the flow of ideas and allow students to share valuable feedback and knowledge with others in the program.
  • Mentor Network– The Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship has established a vast network of mentors in the community, from technology entrepreneurs to accountants and attorneys. The Hatchery engages these mentors through content workshops and founders’ stories sessions, and facilitates the connection with specific teams as needed.

Welcome to the submission site for Cal Poly's Innovation Quest competition.  We are so excited to once again be hosting this fantastic competition which highlights student innovators from across campus.  Submissions are due Friday March 17th by 11:59pm.

Read and respond to each question carefully.  There are word limits so be thorough but you'll need to be concise.  You are able to start, save and return to your application at any time so we encourage you to start early, save your application and come back to it to make revisions.  When you are finished remember to submit the application as "in-process" applications will not be judged even if there are words for each question.

This application will be used to determine our 12 finalists.  Finalists will be announced approximately two weeks after final submissions are received.  More details on preparation for the finals will be provided after the finalists are announced.  The finalist presentations will be on Saturday April 30th and the awards banquet will be that evening.

All correspondence will go only to the e-mail address that is listed for the team lead.  That individual is responsible for notifying the rest of the team about information regarding the submission, deadlines, instructions, etc.
Questions can be directed to Tom Katona (  
Good luck everyone!


Cal Poly CIE