Big Idea! contest allows students to pitch their business ideas

Photo by The Gateway

Charlotte Reilly

University of Nebraska at Omaha students have the chance to pitch their business ideas at the BigIdea! Pitch Contest at Mammal Hall Oct. 9-11.

The annual contest is organized by the College of Business’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Franchising.

The panel of judges will be half faculty and half members from the community, and any student can pitch new or improved products/ services. Over 200 students are participating this year. During the first round, held on Monday, students will be assigned to a classroom where they will compete with 12 to 15 contestants. There will be three to four judges per classroom, according to Dale Eesley, PhD., who is helping run the event.

Each room will advance three people to the next round, also held on Monday. Those students will pitch their ideas again, competing against a new set of contestants. Only 12 will make it to the final round, which is held on Oct. 11.

There are seven categories on which the contestants will be judged, according to Jenna Taulman, who is also helping run the event.

“The nature of the problem must be clearly stated, the solution must be clear, there must be marked significance, potential for the idea to be implemented, it must be sustainable, the pitch persuasive and delivered on time and the contestant must be able to answer the judges’ questions on the spot,” Taulman said.

Eesley encourages students outside of the business field to participate in the event. The contest can make students more comfortable with public speaking and is a resume booster.

“It forces students to think innovatively and creatively, and then they really have to think about what it would take to make it happen,” Eesley said. “When you give a convincing pitch, you’re telling the judge this is how I would do it. Students have to think about how to make it a reality. They get confidence from clearly communicating their ideas to others.”

Because half of the judges are from the community, contestants can make connections with businesses and community members who are interested in their innovations.

“Everyone who has a good idea can make it a reality by going out and telling the community,” Eesley said.