Emerging entrepreneurs will have two minutes to showcase their innovative ideas as part of the fifth annual Big Sell competition.
Potential participants from across the country have until March 27 to submit their application online in one of two areas: technology or open category and social entrepreneurship or environmental category. Applications are available by visiting www.thebigsell.org.
The Top 50 applicants will be invited to take the stage on Saturday April 18 for an opportunity to pitch their concepts for new products or services.
“It’s a simple process and there is no fee to apply,” said Dushan Nikolovski, the Big Sell founder and director of the Purdue University Calumet Center for Entrepreneurship Success. “We are an idea competition not a business plan competition so the Big Sell is really a key platform to test an idea’s marketability before taking the initial stages of launching a business.”
Audience members participate directly in the competition by electronically voting for the Top 10 ideas. In the second round, judges and audience members select the winners, which include two in each category. Winners are awarded money and professional services totaling $80,000. Services include guidance in legal, marketing, accounting, business plan and business advisory arenas. Office space for a year at the Hammond INnovation Center will also be offered to local Chicago-land winners.
“There’s nothing like this across the country. You receive instant feedback from potential customers on the viability of your idea,” Nikolovski said. “The awards go beyond cash as we are seeking to take entrepreneurs to the next level. Through professional services, we mentor honorees and help guide them on their way to the marketplace.”
Tickets are now available for the event, which is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday April 18 at the Radisson Star Plaza, 800 E. 81st Ave., in Merrillville, Ind. Subsidized by sponsors, tickets are $25 and include breakfast, lunch and snacks as well as the opportunity to participate in voting and network with members of the business community.
Also, keynote speakers, Ersal Ozdemir and Erick Stewart, will offer their insights during the lunch portion of the event. Ozdemir is owner of Indy Eleven, Indiana’s professional soccer team, and Keystone Construction Corp. Stewart is co-owner of Stewart Industries, a Battle Creek, Mich.-based sub-assembly and inspection company.
Based out of Northwest Indiana, the Purdue University Calumet Big Sell Entrepreneurship Competition is a platform for potential entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas for an opportunity to receive guidance and monetary prizes. The nationwide business idea contest blends instant feedback on concept marketability through audience voting with the chance to connect with potential customers and start-up resources.
For more information, visit www.thebigsell.org.