Fall 2019-2020

Big Idea Kickoff – September 19, 5:30-6:30 p.m., O’Hara Student Center Ballroom

This is your opportunity as a Pitt student to connect to the University of Pittsburgh innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and learn about education, funding, and mentorship opportunities in the new academic year as you contemplate your journey from the lab or classroom to the marketplace.
Register here.

IBM BlueHack – October 26 and 27, Information Science Building

BlueHack is a friendly competition that drives real results!  You and your team will embark on a two-day journey that will drive both IBM’s business and society forward.  Sponsored by IBM, this hackathon allows students to brainstorm and work with mentors and entrepreneurs in residence to move their ideas forward and potentially win prizes!  No prior coding or computer science skills required to apply!

Theme for 2019: Transforming Healthcare

Save Your Spot

She Creates – October 24, 5:30 p.m., O’Hara Student Center Ballroom

The Big Idea Center (as part of Pitt’s Innovation Institute), School of Computing and Information, Pitt Career Center, CMU Project Olympus, Chatham, and Innovation Works are proud to present a panel of women CEOs from Pittsburgh’s leading startups.  They will discuss the challenges around women as tech leaders and as founders in startups including the gender investment gap and the lack of women in founder-roles.  Get inspired by these ambitious female founders and learn why you should be a part of the revolution!


Pitt x CMU Global Entrepreneurship Week – November 15-21

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:

  • Student Shadows with Pittsburgh Startups
    • Participate in an exclusive opportunity to visit with awesome startups right here in Pittsburgh!  Hear from members of their teams about life in a startup and what it takes to succeed in an innovative and entrepreneurial environment!
  • The Money Table
    • 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!
  • Steel City Startups:  Pitt x CMU
    • Join us for this reception to kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week at the University of Pittsburgh.  Hear TEDx style presentations from Pitt and CMU innovators and hear how they were motivated to pursue commercialization, what path they are taking, and the challenges they’ve faced.
  • Product Management Development Association (PDMA) Pitch Competition
    • Eight teams (four graduate and four undergraduate from Pitt and CMU) 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.
  • Everyone Wins, Meet UpPrize Social Innovators
    • 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.
  • Startup Job Fair
    • Attend the Startup Job Fair to network with Pittsburgh startups looking to hire full-time, part-time, interns, and paid positions in sales, marketing, operations, IT, engineering, and more.

Register Here!


Spring 2019-2020

Big Idea Blitz – Dates and Times TBA

Join us for a 24-hour idea, pitch, and team development competition where you will be able to pitch your idea, form a team, work with entrepreneurs in residence, and win cash prizes.

She Innovates – Dates and Times TBA

The Women in Computer Science (WiCS), School of Computing and Information, and the Big Idea Center are delighted to bring you She Innovates, Pitt’s only all-women hackathon.  This hackathon is for all female students – undergraduates and graduates – in the Greater Pittsburgh area with or without a computer science background!  Come for a weekend filled with hacking, technical talks, mentorship, and fun!

Randall Family Big Idea Competition – February and March 2020

This competition is an experience-based learning opportunity for Pitt students with Big Ideas who enjoy working in diverse teams to bring those ideas to life.  It is open to all Pitt undergraduate and graduate students across all schools and departments.  Discover how to take your idea to the next level towards startup creation.  This competition spans February and March of each year and awards a total of $100,000 in cash prizes to winning teams, with a grand prize of $25,000 given to the team with the most startup promise.  Since its inception in 2009, the competition has attracted hundreds of interdisciplinary teams seeking to bring their Big Ideas to market.


Blast Furnace – May and June

The Blast Furnace is the University of Pittsburgh student accelerator that provides emerging entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills they need to form a corporation and grow and develop their business.  The program gives students of all levels across Pitt access to a deep mentor network, co-working space, and a hands-on, experiential curriculum.  Upon completion, students are ready to launch their business, raise funding, or apply to accelerators such as AlphaLab, AlphaLab Gear, Ascender and IdeaFoundry.


Innovation Living Learning Community

This first-year, on-campus, living experience is a partnership between the Big Idea Center, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (A&S), Residence Life, School of Computing and Information (SCI), and Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE).  These partners will help freshmen learn about innovation and entrepreneurship through engaging, interactive, and fun experiences throughout the year.  The mission of this LLC is to allow students to explore the entrepreneurial process and create a community of innovative students who will maintain an interest in enrepreneurship and the Big Idea Center and partner programs for the remainder of their time at Pitt.