Unleash Your Creative Mind!

Showcase your idea for a new product/service or how to improve something we already use AND win prizes!

Win $100, $200, $300 with the chance to compete for $500 GRAND PRIZE and FREE trip to Orlando Florida for the CEO National Conference

See Last Year's Winners

First Place: Jacob Robinson and Kayla Timm Video Pitch
1st Runner Up: Cole Volkers Video Pitch
2nd Runner Up: Joshua Williams Video Pitch

What is it?

An elevator pitch is a quick explanation of a business idea or other proposal. It reflects the idea that you should be able to summarize key elements of your idea in the time it takes to ride an elevator.

There are two rounds in the Big Idea! Elevator Pitch Contest: Video Pitch and Live Pitch

The video pitch contest gives you the opportunity to show your innovation in a 60-90 second video. In each of the four video contests, winners will be the three pitches with the most votes from the public. A panel of judges will select the 12 video pitches that will move on to the second round—the live pitch contest.

Who Can Enter

THE BIG IDEA! CONTEST is open to all UNO students. There are four categories:
  • CBA
  • PKI and UNMC
  • College of Arts & Science
  • All other UNO colleges

big idea contest

Dates and Deadlines

  • September 1 (Noon) contest opens
  • October 6 (11:59pm) video submission deadline
  • October 7 (Noon) voting opens
  • October 13 (5 pm) voting ends
  • October 13 (6 pm) Live pitch contest in Mammel Hall

Contest Rules and Instructions

  1. The contest can be entered individually or as a group. There are four separate contest apps for different categories and you must submit your idea through the entry page for your college. 
  2. Before you start filming your video, please click here to see instructions for crafting an effective elevator pitch. You are expected to follow these guidelines except for the 20-30 second length requirement.
  3. Your video must be 60-90 seconds long and it should clearly pitch your idea, innovation, product etc. Entries that are over 90 seconds long or present an existing idea or simply are too far from the description of an elevator pitch will be disqualified.
  4. The more detailed your idea is, the better! You may want to draw a picture or make a prototype to illustrate your innovation. To make your video more interesting to watch and to increase the chances of winning, you may also want to search for filming/videography tips. 
  5. Upload your video pitch to a video sharing website such as YouTube or Vimeo, fill in the application info, and copy/paste the video link/URL into the contest application.
  7. You can submit more than one idea, however, only one idea per student may receive a prize in the first round. Contests with 10 or more contestants are eligible to receive prizes. Similarly, judges may select only one idea per student for the second round. In the voting period, you may vote for multiple different pitches, but only once per each pitch.
  8. Deadline to submit your video is 11:59PM, October 6th
  9. Voting begins at noon, October 7th.
  10. Voting ends at 5:00PM, October 13th.
  11. The 3 most popular video pitches (most votes) in each of the four contests will receive a cash prize in the following order: 1st place = $300, 2nd = $200, and 3rd = $100. Prizes are fixed so if the winner is a group of people each group member will receive an equal portion of the prize. Example: 3 people, $300 prize = each person gets $100. Winners will be announced at the live pitch contest and they must be present at that contest to receive prizes. 


  1. First round winners are not instantly entitled to compete in round 2. A judge panel will select their 12 favorite pitches from all four round 1 video contests to compete for a $500 Grand Prize + FREE trip to Orlando, Florida to pitch at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization's National Conference. CIEF will provide the trip for one person.
  2. The finalists will be contacted via email and they will be invited to pitch before live judges and a student audience in Mammel Hall Auditorium at 6:00pm, October 13th.
  3. Each finalist will have 5 minutes to pitch his/her/their idea. Visual aids, props or handouts can be used, however, no technology support will be provided (e.g. no PowerPoint presentations). Finalists will be scored on originality, creativity and viability (both technical and business) of the ideas, as well as their ability to thoroughly answer judges’ questions.

Get coaching or answers to questions   Contact the Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Franchising if you want more information or need assistance developing your idea or crafting your pitch. Email UNOBigIdea@unomaha.edu or call (402) 554-2706