The Randall Family Big Idea competition is our flagship competition here at the Innovation Institute, the main reason we’re so proud of it: the students. So we wanted to take the chance to share with you some of their thoughts on the competition:

Dirt Cheap Power, Addy Klonicki

“The faculty truly went above and beyond and offered us advice as well as access to resources. The competition pushed us past our comfort zone and propelled us into greater things.”

Nymbus, David Wright

“It adds fire to the team. It means clout with investors and within the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Pittsburgh. It means support and affirmation of our work by Pitt. It means a lot.”

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Jiannan Ouyang, Busgazer

“Randall Family Big Idea Competition is the Mayflower that opens the door to a new world. Our adventure begins here!”

Yuta Umeda, TradeBooks

“Although we are very disappointed in the fact that we did not win any money, we were able to learn so much from the competition. We were able to meet a great mentor, meet other students with great ideas, and to be able to share our idea with so many people. ”

Carely Wasa, TradeBooks

It meant we got to test ourselves against our peers and see where we stand as entrepreneurs looking to advance in the real world. It was invaluable to have a group of tried and tested entrepreneurs in the Pittsburgh area scrutinize our idea and strategy and we incorporated all the feedback we got.

GLIMPSE, Emeka Ukaga, COO

“…truly a life changing experience…we were able to solidify our company vision, launch our website, and produce our Alpha-phase product and it was clearly the competitive and fast-moving atmosphere that pushed us to get there. ”


Madhur Bafna, Filminar

“…was a great stepping stone to transform our idea into actionable steps to commercializing our product. The training and advice received from industry leaders and university experts helped the team to focus our efforts in the right direction.”

Bobby Qumar, FEEAD

“The Randall Family Big Idea Competition has given me the power, the opportunity to utilize world-class mentoring and networking, to develop an iterative process of transforming fledgling ideas, into viable, successful start-ups!”


Noah Snyder, Andy Glowacki, Kasey Catt, James Eles & Jeff Zhanhong Du, OXI-Dent

“…was an invaluable experience to the development of the skill set required to take that idea from the benchtop and transition it into a marketable product, putting our technology on the path towards the intended purpose of improving society.”