The Big Idea Center hosts various programs and competitions for all Pitt students throughout the year

I+E Explore Opportunities

No startup idea? No problem!

As part of the Big Idea Center’s reimagination, we’re introducing I+E Explore: a year-round series of activities for Pitt students of all levels and disciplines who are interested in innovation and entrepreneurship but may not necessarily have a startup idea. Our I+E Explore series will provide Pitt students with opportunities to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship topics by participating in fun, hands-on, no-pressure activities throughout the year outside of our signature events such as Big Idea Blitz or the Randall Family Big Idea Competition.

No startup idea required to participate — the only thing you need to bring is your curiosity!

View Upcoming I+E Explore Events

Spring 2023


Start Smart Legal Series – Various Dates, Zoom

The Start Smart series hosts various seminars and workshops throughout the semester that cover a wide range of legal topics for startup businesses. During each event, you will be able to learn from K&L Gates’s startup lawyers and gain valuable insight on how to legally start/run your startup.

Various registration deadlines.

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Big Idea Blitz | January 27-28 (Workshop), February 3 (Final Presentations)

Reformatted for 2023! Our classic 24-hour competition has been reworked to provide even more mentorship and development opportunities for your idea. As part of this Spring’s Blitz, your team will participate in a 24-hour workshop with Big Idea Center staff and entrepreneurs in residence. The workshop will include 1-on-1 coaching, practice pitch rounds, and feedback. After one week of concentrated work, your team will return for final presentations in front of a group of guest judges!

Application deadline: January 20, 11:59 P.M.

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Randall Family Big Idea Competition | February through April 2023

This competition is an experience-based learning opportunity for Pitt students and postdocs with Big Ideas who enjoy working in diverse teams to bring those ideas to life. It is open to all Pitt undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs across all schools and departments. This competition spans February through April of each year and awards monetary prizes to students with the most startup potential, including a grand prize of $25,000! Since its inception in 2009, the competition has attracted hundreds of interdisciplinary teams seeking to bring their Big Ideas to market.

Application deadline: February 5, 11:59 P.M.

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Student Innovation Showcase | April 18

Stay tuned for more information!

Accelerator Opportunities

Blast Furnace – May through July

The Blast Furnace is Pitt’s student accelerator providing access to a deep mentor network, inspirational co-working space, and a rich curriculum preparing student startups for creating and growing their businesses.

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Incubator Opportunities

The Forge

Pitt students and alumni who have developed advanced ideas and startup projects are eligible to apply for the Forge, Pitt’s newest program for ongoing startup incubation.

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Additional Funding Opportunities

Big Idea Advantage Fund

Our goal at the Big Idea Center is to provide students with the opportunity to take their ideas from concept to reality. We are thrilled to be able to take this mission one step further by introducing the Big Idea Advantage Fund! This investment opportunity is the first of its kind and geared towards students who have an advanced idea and are looking to take that idea to the next step towards startup creation and business growth.

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Looking for info on past events?

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