Big iDeas bring home the big bucks for student entrepreneurs

Students put their creative minds to the test and competed for glory at the annual Big iDeas Pitch Contest.

Big iDeas 2017 contest at SMU

By Caleb Smith

Fourteen candidates put their creative minds to the test and competed for glory at the 14th annual Big iDeas Pitch Contest Friday, Sept. 22 at the Hughes-Trigg Forum. The Big iDeas contest is a way for students to display their entrepreneurial talents to the public to hopefully one day start their own business or create a new prototype to help benefit society.

“This is part of our Engaged Learning tree and our branch for innovation and entrepreneurship,” director of Engaged Learning Susan Kress said. “We want our students to think outside of the box and become world changers.”

The contestants pitched their ideas to four judges and a room of spectators. They had 90 seconds to pitch their idea, followed by a Q&A session with the judges. The 10 winners received $1000 to help kickstart their business.

“Innovation in a nutshell is when someone comes up with an idea of something that is better,” entrepreneur Jerry White said. “It is the empowerment to create your own future, sense of pride and sense of worth, jobs for others, contribution to the world and ability to give back.”

Ideas varied from app creations to social justice organizations, all having one goal in mind: to make a difference in the community.

“I want everyone on the road to be safe and with my app, Just Drive, drivers will have more of an incentive to keep their eyes on the road at all times,” SMU junior Neha Husein said.

Past winners of the event have launched successful businesses in the Dallas area such as BioLum Sciences, the Dallas restaurant Pok, City Mixr and Emergent Services. 

“We have students that pitched four years ago that now have their own companies. It’s great to see how this event has propelled successful business careers for our alumni,” Kress said.

The 10 award recipients of this year’s event were Town Hall Project, Just Drive, The Happy Institute, Dallas Community Bail Fund, BLVD Bicycle Co., Robotics Club, Alternative Website Monetization, Signo Capital, SPOT and ForUst.  Meet the pitch contest winners at .


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Click here for information and photos of winners


SMU Big iDeas Contest
2017 Big iDeas winners with their checks.