The THINK BIG! Innovation Challenge is a business venture pitch competition that is targeted to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) also any college student located in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Students with a nuanced understanding of a marketing, technological, business process or environmental issue identify gaps in the current approaches and recommend solutions to solve their identified problem.
Create a viable business proposal based on their potential solution that can address the identified gaps.
Pitch their venture to a panel of judges for semi-finalists prizes of $5,000 with $2,500 to second place and $1,500 to the third-place winner. Winners can use the money for school, books or as seed money to help develop their BIG IDEA!
Gain invaluable entrepreneurial experience, mentoring, and network connections to propel their change-making journey to the next level.
Round 1 – Executive Summary submissions are due by noon.
June 14, 2019
Round 2 – 30-second video and Pitch Decks are due by noon.
June 21, 2019
Round 2 - Participants are selected.
July 12 - 12, 2019
Round 2 - Participants pitch their proposed BIG IDEA (virtually).
August 2, 2019
Round 3- Semi-finalists are selected.
September 5, 2019
Grand Finale - Semi-finalists present their BIG IDEA at the 2019 Gateway Regional Business Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Round 1 - Submission Requirements:
Students produce an executive summary that has the following components:
Overview of Business Idea(100 Word Max) - This is your elevator pitch - it should quickly and concisely summarize your plan.
Description of Product or Service(400 Word Max) – Describe the product or service. Explain the unique selling proposition, competitive advantage or a compelling idea. If your plan includes unique intellectual property, please describe.
Market Size / Potential / Opportunity(400 Word Max) –Explain the size of opportunity (e.g., how big is the market for your product or service?), the target audience (e.g., who will buy your product or service?) and who are your leading competitors? Note: Where possible, please provide validation via reference to 3rdparty research.
Sales & Marketing(400 Word Max) -How would you partner with an existing small business to reach the target market with your BIG IDEA?
Bibliography (1-page Max)of all the sources cited in the executive summary.
Round 2 - Submission Requirements:
30-second video & Pitch Decks are due on June 14, 2019.
Round 3 – Submission Requirements:
Round 3 has two pitch components
Long Pitch: 10-minute pitch, delivered (virtually) to a panel of judges. The pitch deck will accompany the 10-minute pitch.
Fast Pitch: 120-second pitch, delivered (virtually) to a panel of judges. No slides will be used for the 120-second pitch.
Judges will provide feedback to all pitch participants.
Grand Finale – Submission Requirements:
Each semi-finalist is invited to participate in the 2019 SRSMDC Gateway Regional Business Conference.All semi-finalists will receive a 10 x 10 booth to showcase their BIG IDEA on the trade show floor.When the pitch contest begins, the format will be as follows:
1) The conference DJ will present the student semi-finalist to the audience and student will be invited to select their theme music.
2) Each semi-finalist will get 120-seconds to present their BIG IDEA.
3) After all the semi-finalists have presented their BIG IDEAS, the judges will tally the results and announce the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place semi-winners at the SRMSDC Annual Awards Luncheon on September 6, 2019.