Mercer Innovation Center Announces Winners of Next Big Idea Competition


MACON – The Mercer Innovation Center announced the winners of The Next Big Idea business pitch competition on April 16.

All Mercer undergraduate students were eligible to enter the competition as individuals or teams of up to five people. Each entry included a two-minute video pitch and one-page business canvas. Eight finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, who awarded $9,000 in prize money.

The winners included:

First place ($6,000): Zanglers, Micah Givens and Marcos Zacarias

Zanglers is an online clothing platform that allows users to never miss a rising fashion trend again. It brings together the experience of a shopping mall with the convenience and mobility of the internet. Zanglers allows users to stay up to date with fashion by personalizing their style, while connecting with friends, celebrities and fashion icons.

Second place ($2,500): Gathering Grounds, Charleston Hurley and Nate Flowers

Gathering Grounds is a community-centric coffee house that values exceptional coffee and customer relationships. In addition to a large venue space with a collapsible stage for performances, Gathering Grounds plans to feature a large meeting space for organizations. The coffee house also seeks to introduce a new drink to the Macon community: nitro-infused coffee. This elixir is served on-tap and has the same texture as beer.

Bear's Choice ($250): The Sole Swap, Nnamdi Onyekewuluje and Teferi Taylor

The Sole Swap is a buy-sell-trade retail storefront for shoes that gives resellers and traders of high-end, high performance footwear and apparel the opportunity to rent retail space to vend and trade their goods. Similar to business models employed by both a flea market and a consignment shop, The Sole Swap allows vendors to set their own prices and sell their goods from a designated retail station offered at an hourly rate.

Bear's Choice ($250): Honey B Books, Peatra Osman

Honey B Books is a diverse online children's bookstore, built on the foundation of diversity and inclusion. Literacy and character-building programs are provided through the sale of books online and from a 14-passenger, multi-function bus that allows the store to take its programs on the road. This “book mobile” has the capability to offer books fairs, story time and literacy building programming throughout the state of Georgia and beyond.

Click here for more information on The Next Big Idea competition.

About the Mercer Innovation Center

The Mercer Innovation Center is an effort by Mercer University, along with community partners such as the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, Birch Communications and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to advance a culture of innovation and develop a thriving community of entrepreneurs, with a focus on utilizing technology to foster economic growth, create 21st century jobs and attract and retain talent. The Center is an institutional effort – led by the Stetson School of Business and Economics – that crosses academic disciplines and geographic boundaries to draw from all of the University's colleges, schools, departments and operating units. Community memberships are available, as the Center's activities and resources are intended to be available to Mercer students and non-students alike. For more information, visit