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Big Ideas Take Off

Starting a business raises many questions that can often be overwhelming for an entrepreneur. However, students at BYU have access to a variety of resources to help give them the confidence, mentorship, and networking needed to launch their ideas and begin successful careers. One such resource is the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology in the BYU Marriott School of Business.


Each year, the CET hosts the Miller Competition series, which is designed to create opportunities for students to showcase how their big ideas can solve a problem. Rewards for the competition include the chance to win funding and to receive mentorship from successful entrepreneurs. The Big Idea Pitch, which happens each fall semester, is the first of three competitions in the series.

Center for Entrepreneurship

For the 2018 Big Idea Pitch competition, 170 students each submitted a ninety-second video that explained their big ideas using three slides containing information about their proposed product or service. The videos were reviewed by professors, MBA candidates, and peers from across campus. Each idea needed to address three important factors:

  • What problem or evidence exists that support the need for innovation?
  • Is there a market in need of a new solution, and what is the scalability of the idea?
  • What is the solution to that problem, and is it feasible?

After all the submissions were reviewed, twenty-five finalists were chosen to present their ideas on 11 October 2018. Students were tasked with presenting the three previously submitted slides to a panel that consisted of professionals, faculty, donors, and former students who had previously worked with CET. Students had to explain in more detail how their idea would solve a real-world problem.

Miller Competition Series

“This event is all about creating an opportunity for the young entrepreneurs at BYU to exhibit their ideas to make a difference in the world,” said Taunya Brown, event manager for the CET. “The ideas and innovations that come out of this competition continue to impress and amaze all of us who are involved. There’s a reason BYU is so often talked about as being one of the best universities for entrepreneurs.”

For Benjamin Bush, a first-year MBA candidate from Portland, Oregon, the opportunity to pitch his idea of a phone case that acts as a game controller in front of potential investors was a memorable experience. “To be able to condense my idea into ninety seconds and present it was awesome,” said Bush. “The work it took to refine the idea has helped to focus my efforts on making my business succeed.”

CET Convention

Of the twenty-five ideas presented, ten received a $200 cash prize and moved on to the next event of the competition series, the Business Model Competition. To learn more about the Big Idea Pitch and other competitions from the Miller Competition Series, visit

The BYU Marriott School of Business prepares men and women of faith, character, and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Named for benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the school is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. BYU Marriott has four graduate and ten undergraduate programs with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.


Writer: Zachary Miller