MACON/ATLANTA – Mercer Innovation Center and Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society are seeking students with innovative business concepts for the University’s annual Elevator Pitch and Next Big Idea competitions, which will both be held later this fall.

Elevator Pitch

The Elevator Pitch Competition is open to all currently enrolled Mercer students from all campuses, majors and class years. The winner will earn $500 in prize money.

“The goal for the Elevator Pitch Competition is for our students to have a forum to practice clearly describing their ideas and to get feedback,” said Dr. Briana Stenard, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship in the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business. “The concept behind an elevator pitch is that you could get in the elevator with someone and have explained your idea so effectively and concisely that, by the time you got up to their floor, they would be interested enough to want to learn more.”

Students may enter the Elevator Pitch Competition through Sept. 29 by submitting registration materials, including a two-minute video pitch, at

Finalists will be notified by Oct. 6 and will have one week to refine their two-minute pitch to present synchronously via Zoom to a panel of judges on Oct 13 from 6-8 p.m. Judges will have the opportunity to ask questions of each presenter before selecting a winner.

Next Big Idea

The Next Big Idea competition is open to all currently enrolled undergraduate students from all campuses and majors. Up to $6,000 in prize money will be awarded to winners in for-profit and nonprofit tracks.

Registration opens Oct. 1, and submissions may be entered by individuals or teams. Each individual or team may enter one idea, and individuals may participate on only one team. At least one member of each team must be a currently enrolled Mercer student.

Students may register for the Next Big Idea Competition by completing an online application at and submitting an executive summary by the deadline of Nov. 20.

Finalists will be announced on Nov. 23 and will deliver a 10-minute pitch to a panel of judges and a live audience on Dec. 1 from 3-6 p.m. at the Mercer Innovation Center.

The winners will go on to represent the University at the annual Southern Conference Entrepreneurship Challenge, which will be hosted by Mercer in the spring.

“We are looking forward to seeing the innovative ideas of our students this year,” said Dr. Stenard. “Mercer is committed to mentoring and supporting our student entrepreneurs. We believe these competitions give students great opportunities to practice their public speaking, obtain feedback on their ideas, build their resumes and earn startup funding for their ventures.”

General inquiries for both competitions may be directed to, and specific inquires to Dr. Stenard on the Atlanta campus or Dr. Marko Horn or Stephanie Howard on the Macon campus.

About the School of Business

Established in 1984, Mercer’s School of Business is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who leveraged the first major buyout in corporate history, and his grandson Robert F. (Bob) Hatcher, a Macon businessman, longtime supporter, trustee and former board chair for the University. Over the past 80 years, Mercer has granted over 12,000 business degrees, and many of its graduates hold senior leadership positions in companies around the world. Mercer’s business school delivers career-focused business education in order to develop innovative leaders who are responsible global citizens. It holds accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which places it among the top five percent of all top business schools worldwide. Mercer’s business school has been recognized by The Princeton Review for “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students” and “Greatest Opportunity for Women” as well as being one of its “Best Business Schools.” In addition, it has been recognized among the “Top 15 Schools in the Nation for Marketing and Accounting.” The School offers the following programs: Atlanta (Evening and Online BBA, Full-Time (Day) MBA, Evening MBA, Online MBA, Master of Accountancy, M.S. in Business Analytics), Macon (Traditional BBA, Evening MBA, Health Care MBA, and Innovation MBA), Henry County (Evening BBA). For more information, visit