Big Idea at UW-Parkside

The Big Idea Innovation Challenge

Application Deadline: February 1, 2019   |   Winners Announced: February 15, 2019


The BIG IDEA Innovation Competition provides competitive funding opportunities for UW-Parkside students to develop innovative ideas and start-up initiatives. This funding opportunity provides you with funds and expertise needed to successfully take your idea from "spark" to "seed," as you prepare to seek support from competitive funding sources statewide.

If all you have is an idea, the BIG IDEA initiative provides the resources to help you develop and present it for the chance to turn your idea into $2,500 (or ultimately much more) as it develops into fruition.

One winner of the challenge is selected to enter the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament, which provides an opportunity to win additional funding.
  • We are here to explore how ideas like yours have led to life changing products, get your creative mindset flowing, advise you on how to begin work on your idea, answer questions about the competition, and get you started.
  • Successful projects receive $2,500 from the Parkside Venture Fund, depending on project needs, to be used within one year to develop their idea to the next stage of growth.
  • You'll have access to campus resources that may help them advance your idea, including: 

App Factory 
Digital Design and Fabrication Lab
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
University of Wisconsin System Technology Foundation (WiSys)

  • Where applicable, funding from the Venture Parkside Fund will be used to prepare your idea for funding opportunities from agencies across the state, such as:  

Angel Investor Network
WiSys Technology Foundation 
UW System/UW Extension 
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation 
BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc. 


NOTE  | If you plan to enter the Foxconn Wisconsin Smart Cities Smart Futures Competition, you might want to consider using the same idea for the Big Idea Competition.

Application Deadline
February 1, 2019, 11:59 pm

Winners Announced
February 15, 2019


Who can enter the competition?

You, if you are enrolled at UW-Parkside, in any discipline or program.

You partner with a UW-Parkside faculty/staff mentor and submit a competitive application presenting the idea, a business or marketing plan, and how support would advance the project. (There is a faculty advisor stipend of $500.00 per project.)

How is funding awarded?

Selection for funding is based on the quality of the application and the proposed idea's potential for commercial and/or social impact.

A team of UW-Parkside faculty/staff, alumni, and community supporters (donors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs) reviews applications and makes investment decisions for the Venture Parkside Fund.

Additional Questions?

We are here to help you be successful! Contact us and we will get answers to your questions and the resources you need.

Dr. Zaid Altahat: | 262-595-2314
Dr. Daryl Sauer | 262-595-2430

Past Winners

Jeremy Preischel
2018 Winner
Automated Vertical Farming

Cassie Van Hoof
2017 Winner
Purrfect Pal

Read more about it
UW Parkside Regents Meeting
UW System News
UW Economic Development Twitter

Nikolai Lumpkins
2017 Winner
The Pillar Project

Read more about it
WiSys page

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