Fall 2020

Big Idea Kickoff – September 15 and September 29, 5:00 p.m., Zoom

Are you interested in innovation and entrepreneurship, but are not sure how to get involved? Our Big Idea Kickoff is your chance to meet the Big Idea Center as we “Kickoff” the start of our first entirely virtual semester! Pick one of our two meeting options and join Big Idea Center staff and entrepreneurs in residence as we tell you a little bit about what the Big Idea Center has to offer Pitt students. Attendees will participate in a short informational presentation followed by a live q-and-a with our staff.


Diversity in Innovation – October 20, 5:00 p.m., Zoom

New for 2020! Is it harder to be a Black entrepreneur? What unique challenges do minority entrepreneurs face when getting their startup off the ground? Please join us for our Diversity in Innovation Panel as a panel of Black founders and CEOs shed light on the racial divide within the startup and entrepreneurial community as well as how they’ve been able to forge their own path as a minority entrepreneur. This unique panel is a partnership between Pitt’s Big Idea Center, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Pitt’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Pittsburgh’s Black Tech Nation.

Watch the recording of our Diversity in Innovation Panel event.


She Creates – October 29, 5:00 p.m., Zoom

What pressures do women entrepreneurs face in the business world and how do they navigate through those challenges? How can women shape their own mold for success when it comes to building and running a startup? Please join us for She Creates as we showcase women who hold leadership roles both within the Pittsburgh entrepreneurial community and beyond and discuss the difficulties of being a woman entrepreneur.” The She Creates panel is a partnership between the Big Idea Center, Women In Bio-Pittsburgh, PNC, numo, and CMU Project Olympus.

Theme: “Be the Spark: If You Can Dream It, You Can Be It”

Watch the recording of our She Creates event.


Virtual Big Idea Blast – October 30 & 31, Zoom

In this 24-hour, virtual weekend workshop, students will have a chance to work on their ideas and win unique prizes including a fast-pass to the final round of the Randall Family Big Idea Competition! Our event will begin on Friday with a group meetup and informational session followed by our first round of presentations. On Saturday, finalists will have a chance to schedule coaching sessions with our staff of entrepreneurs in residence. The day will conclude with final presentations and a live q-and-a with our guest judges.

This unique opportunity is a chance to participate in concentrated mentorship and coaching on your Big Idea! Take a shot at presenting your project prior to entering our spring Randall Family Big Idea Competition.


Pitt x CMU Global Entrepreneurship Week – November 6-12, Zoom

During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions in 170 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors, and even investors.  At the University of Pittsburgh, our Global Entrepreneurship Week partners with Carnegie Mellon University for one amazing week!  Don’t miss it!  Individual events listed below:

  • The Money Table – November 6 and 7
    • A graduate student investment competition where YOU are the angel investor.  Put real Pittsburgh startup companies in YOUR hot seat.  As you grill local entrepreneurs, real angel investors assess your investment team in a single elimination tournament.  No experience required! Application deadline is November 4.
  • An Evening with Ben Weiss – November 9, 5:00 p.m.
    • Join us for this special presentation, for GEW 2020 only! The University of Pittsburgh presents Ben Weiss, founder of Bai Brands and author of Basementality, in this new talk designed to inspire budding entrepreneurs to get their ideas off of the ground. Ben founded Bai Brands in the basement of his townhouse in 2009 and, in just seven years, built Bai into the fastest-growing brand in the industry, leading to its $1.7 billion acquisition by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. His new book, Basementality, offers the first inside look at how he drove Bai’s fight against Big Sugar and elevated the company from his basement to a $1.7 billion brand. It is the story of old-fashioned door-to-door hustle, naïve belief and the powerful mindset of a classic American entrepreneur.
  • Product Management and Development Association (PDMA) Competition – November 10, 5:00 p.m.
    • Teams from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Duquesne University will pitch their innovative ideas to an expert panel of judges to compete for prizes. The winning teams will receive prizes as well as access to a variety of resources which are generously donated from local sponsoring companies.
  • Change the World: Social Innovation Panel – November 11, 5:00 p.m.
    • Interested in learning more about taking entrepreneurial action to help solve local, regional, national, or global challenges?  Students, alumni, and the Pittsburgh community are welcome to join us for a conversation with Pittsburgh mission-driven organizations. Watch the video recording of the panel here.
  • Steel City Startups: PittxCMU – November 12, 5:00 p.m.
    • Join us for this virtual panel to close out Global Entrepreneurship Week at the University of Pittsburgh.  Hear TEDx style presentations from Pitt and CMU innovators and learn about how they were motivated to pursue commercialization, what path they are taking, and the challenges they’ve faced. Watch the video recording of the panel here.