Learn more

Bradley University Big Idea Competition

The Big Idea Competition is the year's main student competition for the entrepreneurial program at Bradley University. All current Bradley students, plus alums who graduated in December 2016 or later can enter a team in the competition. Prominent early-stage company investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from Central Illinois will judge the presentations by the final student teams.

It is designed to help students and alumni in launching new business ventures, including for-profit businesses, not-for-profit businesses, corporate entrepreneurship, and social enterprise. Participants enhance their Bradley learning experience, gain feedback on ideas, develop networks, and expose their ideas to potential investors.

  • 1st Place Prize - $8,000
  • 2nd Place Prize - $5,000
  • 3rd Place Prize - $2,000

In addition to the cash prizes, finalists will also receive free legal and accounting services from local experts to aid them in the launch of their new ventures.

How does the Big Idea Competition Work?

The Big Idea Competition consists of three rounds of competition.

1. Screening Round

The Screening Round is the initial review of ideas. Competitors will submit a 2-page summary of their idea. This summary acts as your competition entry form. A panel of judges will select the 25 teams that will move ahead to the next round. Deadline- Feb. 22, 2018

2. Trade Show/Elevator Pitch Round

This Round is divided into two parts, a trade show display table, and an elevator pitch of the idea, both of which will occur on March 28, 2018.

Trade Show Awards:  Awards will be given after the Trade Show/Elevator Pitch in the following categories:

Social Enterprise Award; Best Arts Idea; Special Recognition Award; Community Choice- Trade Show Display; Business-to-Business Innovation Award; Technology Award.

Final Presentation Round

Three to four teams will proceed to the Final Presentation Round. The Finalists will write a complete business plan and present it to a panel of judges. Business Plan Deadline- April 19, 2018. Presentations on April 24, 2018.

Who is eligible?

All currently enrolled Bradley University students, and Bradley alumni who graduated in December 2016 or later can enter a team in the competition. A team participating in the competition can consist of one or more contestants and can include non-students. However, there must be at least one Bradley University student or alumnus on each team. It is acceptable for a competitor to already have earned revenue, however the total company revenues cannot exceed $100k as of February 22, 2018.

Are you ready for your chance to show off your great idea and win big this year? If so, click the big orange button at the top left of the page and get started!

Entering the competition is easy- just complete the registration form online and then upload your 2-page Student Venture Summary. The template can be found at: Student Venture Summary Link.  So, get registered and submit your idea summary! 


Big Idea Competition Information Sessions

To learn more about the Competition, information sessions will be conducted for each round, as follows:

“How to Win the Big Idea Competition”: A session on competition structure, best practices to enhance your chances, and answers to your questions.

“Creating a Great Trade Show Display”: A session on trade show rules, display suggestions, and best practices for elevator pitches.

 Date               Description                                         Time                Room

2/6                  How to Win Big Idea                           9 - 10 am          BR 139

2/7                  How to Win Big Idea                           3 - 4 pm            BR 222

3/6                  Great Trade Show Displays                2 - 3 pm            BR 222

3/7                  Great Trade Show Displays               11 am -12 pm    BR 139

For complete Big Idea Competition rules go to: www.bradley.edu/academic/schools/turner/competition

For more information or to speak with the competition coordinator, contact Ken Klotz, Managing Director, Turner School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at kenk@bradley.edu.

Students can receive financial aid up to a budgeted Cost of Attendance (COA), which is the estimated cost to attend Bradley University, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, living expenses, transportation costs, and miscellaneous expenses.   Please be aware that if this award exceeds your COA, it may cause other previously issued aid such as loans to be reduced. If aid is impacted by this award, distribution of the award can be delayed until the conclusion of the semester.  All awards are taxable to the individual recipients.

Sponsored by
Foster College of Business
Miller, Hall & Triggs
Bradley University Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation