Bringing the next big idea to market requires resources and opportunities to come together.
And that’s just what the Big Sell competition provides, according to Dushan Nikolovski, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship Success at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond.
Now in its third year, the Big Sell “offers people with big dreams a great opportunity to put those ideas into action,’ Nikolovski said. “We are doing this to promote local entrepreneurs, innovation and economic development.”
What sells the Big Sell is the opportunity to pitch an idea, a service or a product to “some of the best and brightest minds in Northwest Indiana,” he said. Those people include investors who can provide working capital to bring the idea to market.
At stake in the Big Sell competition are more than $60,000 and cash and prizes, as well as a $1 million funding opportunity is from Elevate Ventures, an Indiana development organization.
The first place winner receives $3,000 in cash and $3,000 each in volunteered services in the areas of legal, accounting, marketing, IT consulting and business plan assistance from PUC business students. An office space at the Hammond INnovation Center valued at $4,200 is also included.
Second place and third place winners also receive cash and business-related services.
Every applicant selected for the March 23 event at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville has two minutes to sell his or her idea.
“Tell them and us why your idea is the best one out there and how, given the resources, you could make it all happen,” Nikolovski said.
Applications are available online at www.thebigsell.org and are due March 1. Those selected to compete in the Big Sell will be notified by March 8.
“We are receiving applications from around the country,” he said. “We especially want to attract local entrepreneurs.”
Nikolovski also encouraged local residents to come out for the Big Sell and support entrepreneurs by voting electronically for their favorites.
Tickets to attend the Big Sell are also for sale online and cost $25 each. The price includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and the opportunity to vote. It’s also an opportunity to network with business professionals, he said.
The nonprofit Big Sell was developed by Purdue University Calumet and its Center for Entrepreneurship Success in cooperation with the Hammond Development Corp. and the City of Hammond.
The 2013 Big Sell committee includes Sue Anderson, small business specialist at the Hammond Development Corp.; Theresa Badovich, owner of The Idea Factory; Robin Carlascio, owner of The Idea Factory; Robert Lendi, CPA, City of Hammond controller; Mark McLaughlin, executive director of the Hammond Development Corp.; Jane Mutchler, dean of the PUC school of management; Erica Passauer, president and executive director of the Regional Development Co. and Brian Rusin, vice president of commercial lending at Peoples Bank.
Nikolovski said the new Commercialization Center at Purdue University Calumet will provide assistance to promote the winning ideas.