Focuss Idea Competition

What is the FOCUSS Idea Competition?

The FOCUSS Idea Competition provides students with the opportunity to share ideas and cultivate solutions to real-world problems.

The 2019 challenge is to create a consumer-centered credit union geared toward multiracial, multicultural and multigenerational consumers.

Read the problem statement for 2019 (Coming soon!).

Who can participate?

Any undergraduate student at UW-Milwaukee.

Can I win money? (Yes!)

  • First place – $1,000
  • First runner-up – $750
  • Second runner-up – $500
  • Third runner-up – $250
  • Fourth runner-up – $100
  • If you’re selected to present at the national competition at CUNA Mutual, Wednesday-Friday, April 25-27, 2018 prizes include:
    • 1st Place: $5,000
    • 2nd Place: $2,500
    • 3rd Place: $1,000


Do I work alone or with other students?

You can work as an individual or as a team to research and propose a solution from your perspective. You are encouraged to work across disciplines to problem-solve. For instance, a SOIS student, architecture and social work student might all work together.

What will I learn about?

  • Debt and the financial needs and constraints of low-income communities in Milwaukee;
  • Finances and credit unions.

Why is this contest important?

  • It has the potential to have a long-term, positive impact on both students and the community.

I want to get involved! What are the next steps?

Attend an information session:
(Please email Alissa Mathison at if you will need special accommodations.)

  • TBD

The contest:

Create a credit union geared toward multiracial, multicultural and multigenerational members. In your response, please describe:

  • The unique products and services that your credit union would provide;
  • Your marketing strategy to connect with new consumers; and
  • Describe your strategy to ensure that your multiracial and multigenerational consumers could be on the path toward financial security.

Please include the role of your credit union as it relates to your proposed products and marketing solutions.

How will my project be judged?

All eligible entries will be judged by a panel of qualified individuals representing both the public and private sectors, including a representative of Affiliate. Judges will apply the following three criteria, each worth up to 33% percent of the score:

  • Clarity in stating the idea or solution to resolve the problem. (Are the answers to the submission questions well written? Clearly thought out? Complete, yet concise?)
  • The innovative or original nature of the idea or solution.
  • The extent to which the idea provides a solution to the problem.

Please see FOCUSS rules for more information.

What is FOCUSS?

FOCUSS stands for Framework for Opportunity Convergence and the Utilization of Sustainable Solutions. It is a non-profit organization created to assist American ethnic minorities, women, veterans, and members of the LGBT community to discover sustainable solutions that will benefit society.


Live Competition

Important Dates –
Coming Soon for 2019!
  • January 30, 2018, Information Session, 11:30am-12:30pm, Merrill Hall Room 315
  • February 1, 2018, Information Session, 11:30am-12:30pm, Merrill Hall Room 315
  • February 7, 2018, Information Session, 11:30am-12:30pm, Enderis Hall Room 915
  • March 16, 2018, Submission Portal Closes
  • March 20, 2018, Winners are notified
  • March 27, FOCUSS competition at UW-Milwaukee
  • April 25-27, National CUNA competition in Madison