Mercer Innovation Center to Select ‘The Next Big Idea’ Among Six Finalists in Business Pitch Competition


MACON – The finals of the Mercer Innovation Center (MIC) Next Big Idea competition will take place March 31, 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 and one-page business canvas. On Friday, the six 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 AMAKA, INcaseME, LandLink, SkyDam, WorkUp and Z Beans.

Mercer's BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism has 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. WorkUp won the $500 Bear's Choice prize, as its video pitch received the most votes on the competition's YouTube channel. Overall, the competitors' videos received more than 8,000 views and 2,000 votes from March 16-23.

“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