The Big Idea Center is the hub for student innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. Established in 2018 as part of the Innovation Institute the Big Idea Center is an on-campus, inclusive innovation catalyst that develops the innovative and entrepreneurial skills of the Pitt student community.


Your ideas are #limitless


Why Should You Care?

Critical thinking and problem solving are at the heart of innovation, and the Big Idea Center’s programming enhances those essential life skills. Through offering acceleration, incubation, mentoring, networking, competitions, and events, students can customize a program to advance innovation efforts. Big Idea Center programs augment students’ personal and professional development whether they ultimately decide to focus on startups, Fortune 500 companies, social enterprises, or academia.


What Can You Expect?

As a Pitt student you will join a broad community that is interested in innovation. You will be challenged to push yourself beyond your limits, and you will achieve more than you think is possible. The Big Idea Center has dedicated Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) to provide you  with individual coaching and mentorship. Through competitions and numerous networking opportunities you will be introduced to professionals and investors in the regional Pittsburgh ecosystem.


Founded in 2018:

The Big Idea Center for student innovation was established in 2018 with a seed gift of $2 million from Pitt alumnus and trustee Bob Randall.  Mr. Randall and his family had previously created the Randall Family Big Idea Competition, which has been the region’s largest student pitch competition since its inception in 2008.  The Big Idea Center brings under one roof the numerous educational programs and resources for Pitt students of all levels from across the university who are interested in hands-on entrepreneurship learning opportunities.  Entrepreneurship is a skill that can enable students to succeed in launching their own company or nonprofit, in addition to equipping students to lead new initiatives in larger organizations.