Become a SmartPrize Exhibitor

Register as an Exhibitor

Bring attention to your product or business concept or expansion plans. Put your idea in front of investors and business experts, along with spectators from around the Midwest. As an exhibitor, you will be included on SmartPrize promotional material which will draw attention to your business concept. Your participation tells investors, judges and the public that you’re serious about driving your idea to the next level.


Anyone from anywhere who is at least 18 years old at the time of registration may enter an Exhibit in SmartPrize.


Exhibitors must set up their displays in the SmartPrize District by 6pm Friday, March 31, 2017. The event kicks off with SmartWalk at noon on Saturday, April 1 and ends Sunday, April 9, 2017. Exhibitors will record a quick-pitch and be interviewed by judges before a live audience beginning at noon April 9. Prizes will be awarded Sunday, April 9 at 5pm at the SmartPrize Awards Banquet at the Masonic Center in Downtown Marquette.

How to Enter

Step One: Application and Approval

Complete and return the application form including signed Exhibitor Agreement by March 3, 2017.

Once your application is approved, your profile will be posted on

Do not reveal proprietary information or IP in your application or exhibit as this is a public event. See Official Rules for more information.


Step Two: Connect with a Venue

Browse here for available Venues and/or contact a venue of your choosing

Venues may also contact an Exhibitor to arrange hosting a particular display

Register with an approved Venue by March 10, 2017

Pay $100 participation fee by March 15, 2017

Once the Registration Period ends, you will be unable to secure a Venue.

The SmartPrize District includes Marquette, Michigan’s Downtown District, Washington from Front to Lincoln, Third Street from Fair to Baraga, and adjacent streets

View a map of the SmartPrize district.

Each Exhibitor is responsible for securing its own Venue, and vice versa. SmartPrize is responsible only for posting profiles on


Step Three: Plan and construct your Exhibit

Exhibits are used to express a business or product idea to judges and spectators.

Eligible Exhibits may:

Be the work of an individual innovator or a team, be any medium, be a single piece, a series, an installation with multiple components or any other output that can be exhibited in the space agreed upon with the hosting Venue, be any size, provided it fits in the space secured in the Venue

Eligible Exhibits must:

Be displayed at a registered SmartPrize Venue, be wholly owned by the Exhibitor or team of Exhibitors, not infringe on third party rights, be titled and voted on as a single entry

Entry Categories:

Innovation– Still in the idea phase – has not received financial commitments in excess of $5,000

Start­up– In the development phase – has received financial commitments in excess of $5,000 but less than $500,000

Expansion– In the implementation phase – has not generated revenue in excess of $500,000.

The category determines the entry’s eligibility for prizes. SmartPrize will assign categories to ensure consistency.

Need help designing your awesome Exhibit? Check out this list of resources.

Step Four: Discuss Details

Once an Exhibitor and Venue have connected, they must decide the following:

Where the display will be installed within the venue, when it will arrive, who installs it.

The Venue and Exhibitor must draft and sign a Hosting Agreement.

Submit a copy of the signed Hosting Agreement to SmartPrize staff prior to the 5pm March 10, 2017.

Hosting Agreements should include:

A description of the Exhibit, specific requirements for the Exhibit (like lighting), how much space the display will take up in the Venue, specific description of the agreed location within the Venue, when the Exhibitor can start installation, arrangements for shipping, installation, and removal if the Exhibitor will not be attending the event, who pays for shipping (if necessary), who is responsible for display removal and how and when it will be removed.

Venues are able to customize to create their own Hosting Agreement based on the Exhibitor’s specific needs. Exhibitors and Venues are expected to negotiate the terms until both parties are comfortable with the details.

If you are registered for SmartPrize as a Venue you may display your own Exhibit at your Venue provided you complete the standard registration process and pay all applicable fees.


Public Vote

During the voting period, April 1 – 8, spectators vote for a Crowd Favorite Prize using a digital polling system. This year’s Crowd Favorite will take home a minimum of $2,000.

Juried Awards

Juried Awards are decided by a panel of regionally acclaimed business experts and event sponsors. SmartPrize presents three Juried Awards:

Innovation: Minimum $2,250

Start-Up: Minimum $5,250

Expansion: Minimum $7,500

Judges will be qualified representatives of the Upper Great Lakes Region business incubator industry and key employees of corporate sponsors. The final panel will be announced prior to the competition.


Winners of the Crowd Favorite and Juried Awards will receive their monetary prizes in a lump sum to the individual Exhibitor in whose name the Exhibit registration was submitted, or split between registered team members. Any additional components of prize packages will be awarded as redemption certificates.

Official Rules for SmartPrize Exhibitors Register as an Exhibitor