Border Innovation Challenge

What is the Border Innovation Challenge?

Border Innovation Challenge

The Border Innovation Challenge is a new for 2019 business plan competition focused on the challenges presented by the international border. This competition focuses on bringing to the spotlight promising solutions and technologies to meet the efficiency and security challenges of the regions ports of entry generated by the finest minds at UC San Diego. Supported by the Smart Border Coalition, the program is presented through a partnership of the Rady School of Management and the Jacobs School of Engineering, and is open to applicants from across the UC San Diego campus, early stage startups with a UC San Diego affiliation, and to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Baja California.

The competition awards cash prizes totaling $20,000 to support new innovative ideas that meet challenges related to border wait time, infrastructure, and ease of passage for cargo. Social innovation ideas and those with or without prototypes are encouraged to apply!


What challenges are you looking to solve?

The international border has been in the spotlight for several years and the challenges on both sides are numerous. This competition is looking for technology and solutions focused on, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Accurate wait time measurement and predictive analytics
  • Best use of access roads based on current Tijuana infrastructure
  • Better Northbound and Southbound queue and lane management
  • Process improvements at US border agent booths
  • Eliminating driver error regarding getting into SENTRI lanes in Tijuana
  • Guiding travelers to appropriate port(s) and providing easy directions to get back to U.S.
  • Using new and current technologies to move cargo through the border efficiently
  • Crowdsourcing to pay for basic border infrastructure needs


Who can participate?

Any current UC San Diego student, staff or faculty member can apply, as well as those from universities or tech hubs in Baja California.  Those with relevant ideas at all stages of development, including social innovation ideas, are welcome to submit an application.   


What’s the process?

Applications are being accepted through 9AM on April 22nd. Apply online at

Applicants will receive an update on the status of their application no later than April 24, 2019.

Finalists will present at the Border Innovation Challenge event on May 22, 2019.


Need more information?

Join us for an information session to learn more about the goals of the Challenge, meet representatives of the Smart Border Coalition, and ask any questions you may have. Register for one of the two information sessions at 

  • Thursday April 4th from 12 to 1 at IGE Classroom 003 - Bioengineering Building Basement Level
  • Wednesday, April 10th from 12 to 1 at the Rady School of Management StartR Room- Otterson Hall 2S111A


Questions? Please contact Karen at