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Blog: Want to submit a great application for the 0-1 Challenge?

During the 0-1 Challenge application period, you may be thinking how do I submit the best application possible? Or what does a great application look like? This article will hopefully help to show you.


Article Contents:

  • The Application Selection Criteria
  • Why your team is important for your application
  • The Application Questions
  • Best Application Examples
  • Application Do’s and Don’ts
  • Your Next Steps


Reading this article will work best if you already have an idea forming in your head. If you do not have an idea already, it is best for you to refer back to the ‘Skills Lab – How do you think of a problem to solve?article first to come up with a problem which you can solve with a potential solution.

Before we continue, please take a moment to note down the problem you are addressing and the solution you have, a few words will do. This will help serve as a reminder for you to focus on as we go forward. Your problem and solution is all you need to start an application but to fully finish it and finish it well, we are going to need to do a little bit of work. 

Understanding the criteria used to review the applications and the questions asked in the application is important, and will give you a benefit when completing your application.



We are fundamentally looking for the team’s potential & if they have the skills needed to succeed. You want to make sure that the team has an understanding of the sector the idea is for, it may not be the industry in which you are working day-to-day, but do you have an understanding of this new area?



We of course want to know the quality of your idea and firstly judge this through the L Marks innovation teams’ experience and understanding of trends. Complementary to this is how innovative is your business idea and how unique is your idea? Has it been done many times before? Sumitomo will place priority to ideas which are not replicating current company activities. Finally make sure that your idea is addressing a problem you have identified.


Growth Opportunities

Growth opportunities are all about growing that idea across the business. Do you think it will be easy for this idea to provide value across the business? A big focal point for us is whether the idea is technically complicated as this has an effect on the speed in which the ideas can be integrated into the existing Sumitomo infrastructure.


Sumitomo Values

With Sumitomo Values, we look at the directions in which Sumitomo are looking to grow, meaning both commercially and morally. Can your idea be commercially successful for Sumitomo and fit in with the values of the company? Will your idea provide opportunities for in the long-term and have a significant impact upon society?


Getting started with The Team Section

Getting a team together will really help you in putting together your application. You can read our team identification article on the learning resources section of the website to guide you. A great example of a brilliant founding team with complementary skill sets is Apple Inc. I’m sure you have all heard of their success stories in the computer, phones and electronics area, but what is very important is that they had a founding team which complemented each other really well.


  • Steve Jobs was a co-founder of Apple Inc. Keen on the opportunity of a new computer. He has all the business skills, product design, consumer wants and needs. He was not overly technical and needed someone who could produce the ideas in his mind.
  • Steve Wozniak was also a co-founder of Apple Inc. An experienced electrical engineer. He was a technical expert who started playing around with the concept of a computer that looked like a typewriter. He was the missing person Steve Jobs needed to create these technical ideas.


These two co-founders filled in each others skill gaps and generated one of the most valuable computer companies in the world. We are not expecting you to have a team like this, however there are many people in Sumitomo who can help fill the gaps you may need. Knowing who you are and what you bring to the table helps establish the type of team you need to build around you. You will have to be honest with yourself, with what you can do, and what you will need assistance with.


Getting started on The Concept Section


It has been mentioned many times that instead of jumping into the solution, start with the problem; you can find more information about this in our workshops and our article here. What you want to be doing with your application is making it jump out of the page, using your problem statement and solution statement from the article noted above. Include figures to make the problem look valuable enough to solve, and make sure the solution theoretically can solve the problem. A basic example is listed below:


Our Problem: 

Most vehicles cannot go more than 400 miles without filling up for more gas


New Solution: 

Generates solar power technology through windows that adds 200 miles to your range.


With this, you can expand these sentences to include thoughts on the application questions mentioned below. We have written the questions in a way which makes it easier to tell the 0-1 Challenge Programme Team what you are looking to do, and achieve in the programme. 


Main Questions

  • What is the existing problem/condition/need your idea addresses?
  • Short Idea description
  • More detailed idea description and how it solves the problem you have identified* 
  • What makes your idea unique?
  • Who are your main customers?
  • Why do you think that your idea is a good fit for Sumitomo?
  • What skills or experience does your team have that will make your idea successful?
  • If you were accepted into the 0-1 Challenge Program, what would you look forward to the most?


Some examples of good answers to the questions above:


Q1 – Short Idea description


An online platform that is aimed at creating a profitable, clinically-validated and easily accessible disease prevention and management E-Health platform for Non Communicable Disease (NCD) Patients/ Clients, which would ultimately reduce the burden of access to and cost of health care amenities.


Q2 – What skills or experience does your team have that will make your idea successful?


We are a small team but we are made up of a skilled and competent workforce including team management, sales representation, leadership in command and communication skills. The main strength of our team is the power of teamwork, we are complementary and have a sense of solidarity to produce best results and tasks that are assigned to each of us are well suited to our abilities. Our main asset lies also in our field experiences acquired during trial cultivation conducted on three different sites with the collaboration of local partners, agriculture specialists and technicians.

However the lack of technicians within our team may complicate the achievement of the project. Accordingly we may need the assistance of agriculture specialists for the technicals, pesticides and inputs advice. We would suggest that this service and support is provided locally by our local partners as they are well aware of the whole process and are able to manage it.


A few examples of a bad response to the questions and why:


Q1 – Short Idea description


Modernised working environment (This is not a good response as it fails to tell us what the problem that the applicant is trying to solve. In addition, it does not mention a possible solution. A good response to this question instead would be ‘The current workplace is aged, and this leads to an inefficient environment in which lack creativity for new ideas and increased workflow. Modernising the workspace with a new environment through aesthetic rooms and work areas will be more conducive to the health of the business.’)


Q2 – What skills or experience does your team have that will make your idea successful?

Analytical skill (This is not a good response as it does not tell the 0-1 Challenge Programme Team how that analytical skill is valuable to this idea. In addition, we will need to see more of your skills and specifically how they can be applied to this idea; including your experiences and knowledge as well is beneficial. A good response for this question is ‘I have an ability to use my analytical skills in order to derive decision making outcomes from data. This will be really useful for our idea as there will be a lot of data to gather and we will need to initially do it within our team’)


Application Do’s

  • It’s ok to not complete the full application in one sitting
  • Use full sentences and complete thoughts
  • Do research – a quick google search
  • Review the Scoring Criteria mentioned above
  • Talk about your idea with colleagues and friends!


Application Don’ts

  • Don’t rush through the application
  • Don’t wait until last minute to submit (August 14th)
  • Don’t let your questions go unanswered
  • Don’t be afraid to put your idea forward- no bad idea


Next Steps

  • Attend the workshops!
  • Book a 1-1 call with L Marks
  • Refine your idea
  • Start your application
  • Assess potential teammates


If you need to get in touch with the 0-1 Challenge Programme Team to discuss any of the above, contact