Big Idea Competition

The Big Idea Competition (BIC) is hosted annually by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas. This Shark Tank-styled competition brings undergraduate and graduate students together from all disciplines to pitch the most innovative startups and ideas in front of their peers and a panel of esteemed judges for cash and scholarship awards. The BIC is one of the most celebrated nights of entrepreneurship in North Texas and recognizes the entrepreneurial progress of UT Dallas students, staff, faculty, and alumni.                          

2018 Competition Infographic

Applications for the next competition will open in Fall 2020.

Apply to pitch your innovative startup idea in front of your peers and a panel of esteemed judges for cash and scholarship awards. Don’t miss this chance to be part of one of the most celebrated nights of entrepreneurship in North Texas, recognizing the entrepreneurial progress of UT Dallas students, staff, faculty, and alumni.

Student Pitch Competition Awards

*Must be currently enrolled UT Dallas student, any major, any classification.

Grand Prize: $25,000
Second Prize: $10,000
Third Prize: $5,000

Entrepreneurship Awards

Open to The University of Texas at Dallas students, alumni, faculty and staff

Innovate(her): $5,000
Eligible businesses will have a woman founder or at least one woman co-founder among the founding shareholders

Biggest Social Impact: $5,000
Eligible businesses and organizations will be focused on making a significant social impact.

Biggest Idea: $5,000
Awarded to the idea or business with the most disruptive product or service innovation

UTDesign Startup Challenge: $20,000

The UTDesign Startup Challenge leverages experiential learning through the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science’s UTDesign senior capstone course to help bring high-potential technology startups to life. Selected ventures receive $15,000 of engineering services over one or two semesters, a technical mentor, business coaches, and $5,000 towards approved business expenses to establish and grow the business.

Applications Open: August 19, 2019

Applications Close: October 21, 2019 at 12:00 PM noon

Semi-Finals: November 1, 2019

Finals: November 19, 2019 from 4-6 PM

November 19, 2019
4:00-6:00 PM
UT Dallas, ATC Lecture Hall, 1.102


Tickets to the Big Idea Competition are free, but registration is required.


Please print the parking pass, display it on your dashboard, and park in Lot U. Shuttle service will be provided from the parking lot to the venue and back.


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Parking Venue Map

Fall 2019


Shiza Shahid
Shiza Shahid is an entrepreneur, technologist, investor and impact leader. She co-founded the Malala Fund with Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, and has led the organization as founding CEO. She was named one of TIME’s “30 Under 30 People Changing the World,” Forbes “30 Under 30 – Social Entrepreneurs” and a Tribeca Institute Disruptive Innovator. She is a member of the WEF Global Agenda Council and has been featured in multiple publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, Elle, Glamour, Town and Country, The Edit, CNN, ABC, Al Jazeera, MSNBC and others.

Dayakar Puskoor
Dayakar is a Founder and Managing Partner at Naya Ventures, a Dallas based venture capital fund investing in early stage and series A B2B startups. Previously, Dayakar managed the P&L for the Hosting & Mobility Solutions business at Microsoft. He was responsible for the incubation, development and management of new mobility solutions. Prior to joining Microsoft, Dayakar was the Founder and CEO of JP Mobile, which was a pioneer in mobile software solutions.

Samantha Colletti
Samantha has nearly a decade of experience in the financial services and banking industry covering venture capital, private equity, leveraged buy outs, technology and innovation. As a Senior Vice President with Silicon Valley Bank she focuses on providing innovative financial solutions to venture and private-equity backed technology companies in the DFW area including: venture debt, private banking, recurring revenue lines of credit, foreign exchange and treasury management. Samantha is a huge supporter of the technology and innovation community.

Eric Ho
Eric is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Capital One Financial Services, responsible for partnerships and brand activations. Prior to joining Capital One, Eric held product development, brand, as well as business development roles at various financial services and technology companies. Eric graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management. In his free time, you can find Eric advising technology startups, cycling, or volunteering with local charities as a plastic spaceman from a galaxy far, far away.

Chase Murphy
Chase Murphy is a partner in the tax practice of Baker Tilly. Chase’s primary disciplines include tax planning and consulting for high growth businesses, with a particular emphasis on the M&A space. His clients have ranged from closely held entities to publicly traded companies, with extensive industry experience in both the healthcare and technology space. Chase spent six years with the corporate tax practice before transitioning to assist entrepreneurs. He works in tandem with the Baker Tilly Advantage team to provide a holistic tax and accounting solution to emerging businesses. Chase has a passion for helping entrepreneurs take their business to the next level.
  • GRAND PRIZE: $25,000
    Anish Hegde, Resume Puppy
  • THIRD PRIZE: $5,000
    Mehmet Gunal, Access My Research
  • Innovate(her): $5,000
    Anjie Vichayanonda, Leg Up Legal
  • Biggest Social Impact: $5,000
    Brandon Friedman, Rakkasan Tea Company
  • Biggest Idea: $5,000
    Mehmet Gunal, Access My Research
  • Eddie Bates, Jennifer Kerner, Justin Gaumer, Sam Aceves, Thomas Ledford – Fluid Impulse
  • Nicole Faraji – BeYOUty Tech

If you are interested in or have any questions about Big Idea Competition, please contact:

Dresden Goldberg

Director Programs & Operations