The InVenture Prize: Georgia Tech way of promoting young entrepreneurs

At first glance, The InVenture Prize at Georgia Tech appears as a glorified science fair, complete with errant explosions and contraptions worthy of a Rube Goldberg cartoon.

The scene at the second annual contest, held in March at Georgia Tech's Ferst Center for the Arts, played out as an unscripted reality show and an inventor's showdown. Cheering fans, charismatic judges and coverage from Georgia Public Broadcasting drew comparisons to American Idol. The life-changing power of the competition for eight student finalists extended far beyond the $15,000 first prize or Idol-like notoriety.