Students Share Solutions in Big Idea Pitch Competition
PROVO, Utah – Nov 10, 2020 – Brilliant inventions often emerge from a flash of inspiration—or even a bolt of lightning, as in the well-known story of Benjamin Franklin. While the ideas submitted to the 2020 Big Idea Pitch competition didn’t come from a student flying a kite in a lightning storm, BYU student entrepreneurs expressed similar dedication to turning their ideas into real innovations.
Every year, the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the BYU Marriott School of Business hosts the Miller Competition Series (MCS). This series of events is specifically designed to help student entrepreneurs successfully launch their business ideas. The first event in the MCS is the Big Idea Pitch (BIP) competition. This year more than 450 ideas were submitted to the BIP, and the top thirty ideas received a total of $10,400 in cash prizes.
The $1,200 first-place award was awarded to Caleb Greaves, a senior from Meridian, Idaho, majoring in economics for his company, Dosys. The second-place prize of $1,000 went to Madison Baker, a junior also from Meridian, majoring in illustration, for her idea, Better Balance. The third-place award of $800 went to Brandon Hemeyer, a senior from Heber City, Utah, majoring in physiology and developmental biology, for his company OreganoGen. Fourth place was awarded to AutoMobile by Josh Harden, a senior in strategic management from Provo. Coming in fifth place was SmartHealth, a product pitched by Graham Lindsay, a senior in nursing from Naples, Florida.
The first-place winning product, a pill bottle created by Greaves, aims to help prevent opioid addiction. “Our bottle releases one dose of medication exactly when each dose is prescribed, making sure patients actually follow the label on their prescription bottles,” he says. “One in four people misuse their prescription opioids. Of these people, 40 percent develop an abuse disorder—meaning, they become seriously addicted. Additionally, 15 percent transition to heroin, the most readily available street opioid.”
Greaves’ passion for Dosys stems from personal experience with opioid addiction. “When I was ten years old, one of my friends came over for a sleepover, and he was terribly upset,” he says. “He found out that his dad was going to jail for mistakes connected to opioid addiction. His dad went to prison for seven years, and I watched my friend struggle through that experience. My pain was secondhand, but it was the first time I’d seen something truly terrible happen to someone.”
Baker’s company, Better Balance, also focuses on solving a specific need: helping diabetics lower their blood sugar. “Better Balance is a sparkling drink that uses the natural effects of vinegar to lower blood sugar spikes for diabetics during meals,” she says. “Diabetics typically manage these spikes through medicine and insulin. Better Balance is a natural substitute for medication and can decrease the amount of insulin needed.”
Baker developed the recipe for Better Balance in her own family. “My dad is diabetic, and after he found out how well vinegar lowers his blood sugar, we adapted the idea into a delicious drink. We were surprised that an easy fix like vinegar worked well with my dad,” she says. “Millions of people throughout the world have diabetes, and more people should be aware of affordable natural solutions to their chronic health problems.”
The students who participated in this year’s BIP found the confidence they needed to move forward with their ideas. “You don’t know what you can do until you try. I never imagined getting into the top ten, much less second place,” says Baker. "However, now I feel like I have the capability to go on and turn this idea into a real product.”
The next event in the MCS is the Business Model Competition (BMC), which focuses on receiving validation from potential customers. The BMC kickoff meeting took place on 14 October 2020, and the final event will be held on 11 February 2021. For more information about the MCS and upcoming events, visit the Miller Competition Series website.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert