Welcome to the Randall Family Big Idea Competition with $100,000 in cash prizes for Pitt students!
Congratulations to to the 2019 participants of the Randall Family Big Idea! Learn more about the recent winners here.
We are now accepting applications for the 2020 Randall Family Big Idea Competition. Apply here.
Attend an upcoming Info Session at the Big Idea Center:
All Info Sessions will be at the Big Idea Center (Gardner Steel Conference Center, O’Hara Street entrance)
- Wednesday 1/15, 12-1 p.m.
- Tuesday 1/21, 10-11 a.m.
- Thursday 1/23, 12-1 p.m.
- Wednesday 1/29, 5-6 p..m.
- Monday 2/3, 3-4 p.m.
This competition is an experience-based learning opportunity for Pitt students with big ideas who enjoy working in diverse teams to bring those ideas to life. Discover how to take your 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, and best video. Since its inception in 2009, the competition has attracted hundreds of interdisciplinary teams seeking to bring their big ideas to market.
Who is eligible?
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. The Randall Family Big Idea Competition is made possible through the generous support of the Randall family. Robert P. Randall, a Pitt alumnus and trustee, 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.
Important 2020 Randall Family Big Idea Competition Upcoming Dates
Application deadline: Feb 7, 2020 11:59 p.m.
Notification of acceptance: February 11, 2020, 5 p.m.
Bootcamp (attendance required): Feb 14, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., O’Student Center, Dining Room & Ballroom
Practice Pitches: Feb 21, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Alumni Hall, 5th Floor
Semi-final Round: Feb 28, 9-1 p.m., WPU, 5th Floor*
Meet Your Mentor: Mar 5, 5-8 p.m., O’Hara Student Center, Dining Room
Final Round: Thursday, Mar 26, 12:30-3:30 p.m., Alumni Hall, 5th Floor,
Final Randall Family Big Idea Competition Awards Ceremony: Mar 26, Doors open at 4 p.m., Alumni Hall, Connolly Ballroom (Open to the public, registration will open early 2020)
Visit us on Facebook to see all images from this year’s competition awards ceremony.
Meet the Big Idea Competition Team!
Director, Big Idea Center
Babs Carryer is the director of education and outreach. Her role encompasses programs to encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship across campus to all students, post-docs, faculty, researchers, and clinicians. Babs teaches the Benchtop to Bedside and Academic Entrepreneurship technology commercialization courses to researchers, clinicians, and graduate students. Babs is a serial entrepreneur, writer, and educator. She blogs about entrepreneurship on NewVenturist.
Joanna is a Business Innovation Advisor with Brights Lights Innovations helping small businesses create profitable growth with accelerated times to market. Since 2007, she held various B2B Marketing Executive roles with Westinghouse Electric Company. She helped create numerous business opportunities leveraging a range of advanced technologies.
For the past 5 years, Phil has focused on augmenting technical founders as they commercialize innovations through leading market discovery, market development, operations and early stage sales for their organizations. Phil’s current interest is on power-efficient hardware and intelligent software systems for Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications.
Phil earned a BSEE from the University of Notre Dame, a MSEE from Santa Clara University, and a MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Don is a serial entrepreneur and visionary leader who has consistently leveraged technology to improve the customer experience and top and bottom-line results. Don has been involved in the growth and development of several businesses, including American Eagle Outfitters, from one to 165 stores as President and CEO, Sundance Catalog Company as Executive Director, and Bear Creek Corporation as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing. He is currently chairman of deal flow for BlueTree Allied Angels.
Jeanine is the President of the McCreary Group, a company which helps large and small organizations with project analysis, development, implementation, and management.
Jessica Trybus is the founder of Simcoach Games, a Carnegie Mellon spin off which has delivered hundreds of games for learning and workplace training since 2005. Jessica received her bachelor’s at Cornell University (majors in English and Theatre) and her graduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University (Entertainment Technology Center).
We would like to sincerely thank all of our sponsors for the 2019 Randall Family Big Idea Competition.
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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