Big Ideas Can Change the World

March 5, 2019

We never know where the next big idea to change the world will come from. It could come from a student at Bradley University during the Big Idea Competition. Why not?

The Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation is hosting the 2nd annual Big Idea Competition with $20,000 up for grabs. The goal is to foster the innovation and ingenuity of our students and to help them bring their ideas to life. Last year's top four ideas included a self-playing guitar, a clothing line designed specifically for women in technology, a yoga facility that helps the underprivileged, and a new design for race car seats to correct problems of spine compression injuries that occur in racing. Each of these ideas is in operation today.

This year, the Big Idea contest started with 37 ideas. The first round (completed) required students to develop a business idea. In the second round, which will be held March 13, from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. in the Hayden Clark Alumni Center, 25 competitors will give an elevator pitch to judges and set up a trade show booth to explain and promote their idea. This is open to the public and those who attend get to cast a vote. Last year, more than 600 public voters helped chose the four finalists.

Ken Klotz, Managing Director of the Turner School, says a program like this gives students, who always have ideas, a way to develop them and practice entrepreneurship in real life. "It's not a business plan contest. It’s about developing a skillset and aptitudes that might be harder to develop in a classroom setting. The Big Idea competition is a hands-on, all-encompassing competition requiring them to push themselves and devote themselves to their ideas." He says the amount of prize money might also be enough to launch their idea or accomplish a major milestone.

This is the most interdisciplinary program happening at Bradley.  Every college on campus is represented and several different majors are too. Students are collaborating in the spirit of convergence to make their ideas come to life.

The final round of judging will take place April 24, 3-5 p.m. in the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center where the final five competitors will write a complete business plan with financial projections for the first three years and give a 10 min. presentation to the judges.