A Manufacturing Grant for Great Ideas

Brilliant ideas for new products emerge every day, but far too many promising napkin sketches end up in waste baskets because product development resources are scarce. The Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award was created to help turn those inspiring concepts into real-life products.

Each year, the program awards an aggregate of up to £150,000 in Proto Labs manufacturing services to innovative thinkers who can use their grant towards building prototype or even an initial production run. 




Based on traditional Zen gardens, the Sisyphus kinetic art table draws complex designs in sand beneath a glass top. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $2 million, the company had more than 1,000 orders to fulfill. With the Cool Idea! Award, Sisyphus was able to scale production and ship tables to its campaign supporters.

Recent Cool Idea! Award Winners

How to Apply

The application process is easy:

  1. Fill out an initial application—it’s three short questions. Apply here.
  2. Judges will select finalists based on the initial application.
  3. Finalists will submit more product details, including a 3D CAD model of their part.
  4. Judges will review the finalists and select a winner.

There are four application periods throughout the year:

  • January 1, 2017 – February 28, 2017
  • April 1, 2017 – May 31, 2017
  • July 1, 2017 – August 31, 2017
  • October 1, 2017 – November 30, 2017

If selected for a Cool Idea! Award, you must use the services within 90 days and should be at a stage in your project that allows you to begin executing immediately.

Stay Informed

cool idea contestant on phone at desk
Thank you