Randall Big Idea
Randall Big Idea

Welcome to the Randall Family Big Idea Competition and $100,000 in cash prizes for Pitt students! This competition is an experience-based learning opportunity for Pitt students with big ideas. Discover how to take your big idea to the next level towards startup creation. The competition spans February and March of each year and awards a grand prize of $25,000 to the idea with the most startup promise. Additionally, cash prizes are awarded for first, second, and third places, plus people’s choice. The competition is offered to ALL Pitt undergraduate and graduate students across all schools and departments. Post-doctoral fellows are included. Since its inception in 2009, the competition has attracted hundreds of interdisciplinary teams seeking to bring their big ideas to market.

Save the Date for the 2018 Randall Family Big Idea Showcase Competition!

March 29, 2018
4 p.m.
Alumni Hall Ballroom


Randall Family Big Idea Competition: MediCase, a phone case that doubles as a pillbox, connected to an app that sends medication reminders, wins the 2017 RFBIC Grand Prize of $25,000.

MediCase, a phone case that doubles as a pillbox, connected to an app that sends medication reminders, wins the 2017 RFBIC Grand Prize of $25,000.


The Randall Family Big Idea Competition is made possible through the generous support of the Randall family. Robert P. Randall was president and chief executive officer of the Three Rivers Aluminum Company (TRACO), a prominent regional door and window company, which was acquired by Alcoa and is now a division of Kawneer. Mr. Randall continues to give back to the community through his position on the Board of Trustees at the University of Pittsburgh, his work with the United States Chamber of Commerce, and as a board member of both the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.


Bob Randall awards the Aeronics team as winners of the 2016 RFBIC.


Through the competition the Innovation Institute hopes to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Support University of Pittsburgh students in launching and growing new business ventures in western Pennsylvania
  • Provide a forum for emerging student entrepreneurs to network with advisors, partners, customers, and funders
  • Highlight the expanding entrepreneurial culture at Pitt


Grand Prize (1 awarded)                   $     25,000

2nd Prize (3 awarded)                       $     15,000

3rd Prize (4 awarded)                        $       5,000

4th Prize (4 awarded)                        $       2,000

Video (1 awarded)                             $       1,000

People’s Choice (1 awarded)            $       1,000 

TOTAL PRIZES                                $    100,000



Thank you to all the students who participated for 2017 and for everyone who attended the showcase!

Please see the list of winners here!


Other Media: Randall Family Big Idea Competition Gives Golden Tickets to Student Business Endeavors, By Micaela Fox Corn, Pitt Chronicle, Issue Date: April 5, 2017

Ambient Cybersecurity and Tiny Lasers Win Big Prizes for ECE Students at Startup Competition by Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer, 4/26/2017

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