Big Idea business pitch competition back for 10th year; Top prize is $1,000

KEARNEY – Big Idea Kearney is back.

The annual business pitch competition returns for its 10th year, giving participants a chance to win up to $1,000 in seed money.

Organized by the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development, the contest is open to anyone with a great business or product idea. Contestants will compete in one of two divisions – UNK students or community members.

Entries don’t need to be fully developed business models, but they should include:

  • a description of the product or service
  • what problem it solves
  • the target audience
  • how it would be made available to customers

To enter Big Idea Kearney, upload a two-minute video of your pitch to YouTube, then submit the link at Entries must be received no later than Oct. 11. There is no cost to participate. Contestants under the age of 19 must have parental/guardian consent.

The top 10 finalists in both divisions, as determined by a group of judges, will present their ideas during a live event 6 p.m. Nov. 3 at Nest:Space, 2224 Central Ave. in downtown Kearney. After an additional round of judging, an audience vote will determine the winners, who receive $1,000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third in each division.

Because of COVID-19, last year’s contest was conducted virtually and limited to current UNK students.

Big Idea Kearney is sponsored by the UNK College of Business and Technology, Economic Development Council of Buffalo County, NUtech Ventures, Invest Nebraska, Nest:Space, GROW Nebraska and Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, visit, call 308-865-8199 or email Assistance with recording and uploading videos is available by contacting the Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development at that number or by visiting the office located in Room 127E in West Center on the UNK campus.