• Next Big Idea Competition

    The Robert K. O'Obrien '58 “Next Big Idea Competition” happening spring semester and it's bigger than ever.

    Got an idea for a business, a social venture, or a really cool concept for solving a problem? Then be a part of the Robert K. O'Brien '58 Next Big Idea Competition. It's our Woo version of Shark Tank where we help you bring your ideas to life. Just check out the top prizes to help get your imagination going.

    • 1st place $5,000
    • 2nd place $2,500
    • 3rd place $1,000

    The competition experience focuses on developing specific entrepreneurial skills that are useful for anyone looking to pursue opportunities, solve problems, and innovate. Plenty of resources are available on campus to help entrepreneurs of all experience levels and aspirations move an idea from concept to a tested business model, and clearly communicate those findings in written, verbal, and visual presentation modes. Practice useful skills in a fun, supportive environment as you navigate the challenges of bringing your idea to life.

    Eligibility, Rules, and Guidelines

    The competition is open to all current Worcester State University students who have a student driven, student created, or student managed venture idea.

    The guidelines and rules:

    • There is no entry fee.
    • Submissions may be entered by individuals or teams.
    • Each team may enter one idea. It may be a social venture, a business venture, or a concept to solve a problem experienced by an organization or community.
    • The competition is for students from any major currently enrolled at Worcester State University, including all full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. Students who have completed their graduation requirements within six months of the final round of competition are eligible.
    • All content for submission must represent the original work of the entrants.
    • Ventures that have generated more than $25,000 in revenue and/or have raised equity capital from sources other than the members of the student team before the current academic year are not eligible to complete.
    • Ventures that are actively seeking outside capital in the form of grants, loans, or equity financing are eligible to compete.
    • The disbursement of the cash awards for the top finalists is issued by check through Worcester State University, following their policies and procedures. The percentage issued to each member of a team is based on the amounts stated in the student team’s registration for the competition.
    • Updates to these rules and guidelines may occur, and will be communicated in writing to registered teams.
    • Judges reserve the right to disqualify any entry that in its judgement violates the letter or spirit of the competition.

    Intellectual Property Considerations

    • The competition, its mentors, and its judges will not sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and teams requiring NDAs should not participate.
    • The semi final round and final round are open to the public and may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include television, print, and the Internet.
    • Any data or information discussed or divulged throughout the competition should be considered information that will enter the public domain.
    • All mentors, judges, and organizers of the competition may make photocopies, photographs, video and/or audio recordings of submissions and presentations. These items may be used in the judging of the competition as well as in promotional activities associated with future competitions, including the recruitment of sponsors and participants.

    Competition Format

    Initial Round: Business Model Submission

    Each individual/team submits a Business Brief and Business Model Canvas for a business or social venture. Ten individuals/teams or top 75% are selected to progress to the next stage based on the evaluation of the business model submission.

    Semi Finals: Video Submission (Top 10 or ~Top 75% depending on entrants)

    The individual/teams selected from the business model submission stage submit a 90 second to two minute video about their venture. Public votes on the videos and the top rated video receives the Woo Choice Award at the finals.

    Final Round: Venture Showcase

    Finalists showcase their venture at an exhibit table along with doing their elevator pitch. The formal pitch is presented with a pitch deck to the judges and audience.

    Important Dates

    • January 24, 2020: Registration Opens
    • March 6, 2020: Registration Closes
    • March 13, 2020: Initial Round Submission of Business Model Canvas and Business Brief due
    • March 23, 2020: Semi finalists announced
    • April 28, 2020: Video Submission due
    • April 30, 2020: Competition Finals (hosted virtually)
  •  “I believe Worcester State students have the creative innovation to launch the ‘Next Big Idea.’ And I’m excited about the creativity and enthusiasm demonstrated in this entrepreneurship competition.”

     – Robert K. O'Brien ’58

    University Advancement

    Shaughnessy Administration Building
    Suite A-231