Mercer Innovation Center to Crown ‘The Next Big Idea’ Among Student Business Pitches

Next Big Idea 2017

MACON – The finals of the Mercer Innovation Center (MIC) Next Big Idea competition will take place April 13, 3-5 p.m., in the MIC Auditorium, as $9,000 in prize money will be awarded to students with the best business pitches.

All Mercer undergraduate students were eligible to enter The Next Big Idea competition as individuals or teams of up to five people. Each entry included a two-minute video pitch, one-page business canvas and one-page executive summary. This Friday, the seven finalists will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges and community members, as the event is open to the public.

The finalists include AGAir, ARBar, MyPath, NEWT Technologies, Press App Sports, StudyShare and WaffleBuddy.

Mercer’s BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism generously sponsored the competition’s three cash prizes.

The first-place individual or team will receive $6,000, and an additional $2,500 will go to the runner-up.

Additionally, the $500 Bear’s Choice prize will go to the team with the best video pitch. The finalists for Bear’s Choice include Bligen Creative, LOC(a)L, LOOP and MyPath. Their videos will be shown during the finals and voted on by those in attendance.

“The Next Big Idea pitch competition meets a primary goal of the Mercer Innovation Center, which is to inspire a spirit of entrepreneurship among our students,” said Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship in Mercer’s Stetson School of Business and Economics and faculty adviser for The Next Big Idea competition.

“We are excited to help our students think innovatively and nurture their ideas. We are looking forward to the development of many new entrepreneurial ventures from this 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

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.