Sierra Nevada Hosts Annual Innovation Challenge

Jun 28, 2013 10:17 AM

Nearly 300 people gathered at the Sierra Bevada Big Room Thursday for the 2nd annual Innovation Challenge. The event is seeing some major growth, drawing representatives from companies like Pandora and Facebook. 43 companies from around California pitched their products to a panel of judges. The Innovation Challenge gives entrepreneurs the chance to highlight some of the latest cutting-edge products and services to come out of non-metropolitan areas. The companies are split into 5 categories, from food and ag to web and information technology. Judges representing each group come from growing companies like to industry giants like Facebook. Head of Internal User Operations at Facebook, Joseph Schneider, helped judge the web and information technology section of the event.

"It's important to understand what the voice of the customer is saying. Is there a need out there? So i'm looking for, are they approaching it in an innovative way, do they understand the customer? Is the opportunity real or something that's perceived?", he says.

The event draws companies out for a variety of reasons. Some are looking to get their business off the ground, while others may already be established and just looking for a way to expand. Whatever the reason, the Innovation Challenge helps draw attention to companies that may not have the same visibility as businesses in big cities. Which means the next big idea could come right out of the north state. The event wrapped up with awards for the top innovations in each category and an overall top presenter.


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