Now in its 10th year, Innovation Erie (IE) design competition was created to catalyze creative economic development in Northwest PA by the supporting of artists, scientists, manufacturers, engineers and designers (SAM & ED).

Innovation Erie Design Lab

Idea Lab, Blasco Library, 160 East Front Street

February 23 – March 22, 2019

Competition Schedule

Innovation Erie Launch Event 
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Innovation Erie Design Lab
Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 10:00am to 2:00pm
(includes 1 hour lunch break)
Product Design / Erie’s Manufacturing History / Engineering for Cost / Local Resources / Designing / Aesthetics / 3D Printing / Patents 101 / Homework for March 2nd

Innovation Erie Design Lab
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Two Options: 10:00am – 12:00pm, 1:00pm to 3:00pm

  • Hands-on Activities / Critiques / Revisions
  • Design Discussions: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Innovation Erie Design Competition
Submissions accepted March 4 – March 22, 2019

Innovation Erie Awards & Reception
Thursday, May 9, 2019 (time TBD)
Cash Awards + Legal, Manufacturing, and Marketing Assistance

About the Competition

Initiated in 2008 by Civitas, Edinboro University, the Erie Art Museum and other regional stakeholders, the Innovation Erie Design Competition calls for individuals to submit original product ideas that could be manufactured in the Erie region. Karen Rzepecki, CEO of ReCAP Mason Jars, established her business after winning first place in the 2011 Innovation Erie Design Competition.

In 2015, after observing a need for product design education, Civitas and faculty at Edinboro and Penn State initiated the Made in Erie (MIE) workshops at the Erie County Blasco Library. The free MIE presentations and hands-on labs foster the design of products that are functionally, ergonomically and aesthetically excellent – and manufacturable.

Due to a number of factors, the design labs and competition were suspended in 2017. However, in 2018, the Idea Fund stepped in to adopt Innovation Erie the because the successful design labs and competition perfectly aligns Idea Fund’s goal of supporting entrepreneurial development. Under the umbrella of the Idea Fund, both the design lab and competition are being restored to the community. The IE Design Lab will continue at the Erie County Public Library as a part of their new initiative – the Idea Lab. The IE Competition, held at the Erie Art Museum from 2008 – 2016, will move to the Erie County Public Library.

The IE Design Competition is open to individuals or teams, 18 years old and over, whose product design could be manufactured in the Greater Erie Area.

An independent panel of judges will select up to a dozen semi-finalists to exhibit their ideas. Four top finalists will be chosen to compete for over $10,000 in cash and assistance prizes.

Competition Semi-finals

Submissions for this competition are now closed.

Semi-finalists will notified by March 30 and directed to drop off their display materials to the Erie County Blasco Library on Monday, April 8. Finalist will be notified by April 30, and interviewed on Saturday morning, May 4.

Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 9.

Submit Entry

Personal Information

Project Information

Become a Sponsor

If you’re interested in helping sponsoring the competition, please see the attached details and form. For more information, please contact us at

Download Sponsor Form

Innovation Erie 2019 Sponsors