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PCE Big IDEA Competition

About the PCE Big IDEA Competition

Do you have an idea that can make the world a better place?

Are you one of those people who naturally sees problems as opportunities? Do you find yourself thinking – “if I were in charge, I know what I would do to tackle that problem?"

The Fall 2021 Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship Big IDEA Competition hopes to inspire you to be mindful of the world around you, to think about the problems and opportunities facing society and to tap your innate creativity to generate a potential solution.

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically exposed the weaknesses in some of our societal institutions and accelerated changes in our lives that were unexpected at the beginning of 2020. It is an opportune time to offer potential solutions to the multitude of human, social and economic challenges we are facing.

The Big IDEA Competition is an opportunity to think boldly about how our university, our community, our country or our world can apply your innovative idea to create social or economic progress in the “new normal” that is ahead.

It all starts with a big IDEA!

Competition Guidelines

  1. The Mount St. Mary’s Big IDEA Competition is open to all degree-seeking MSMU undergraduate and graduate students.
  2. Individual students or teams consisting of up to four students may enter the competition. (Please note that a student may not participate in more than one team or submit an individual competition entry if participating with a team).
  3. The PCE is a resource center available to help you refine your problem/opportunity statement and solution. Please do not hesitate to email the Center at for assistance or with any questions related to the Competition.

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Easy Entry Requirements

Submit your entry through the PCE Big IDEA Competition form according to the following criteria:

  1. Complete and Submit by 11:59PM, Wednesday, November 10, 2021.
  2. Initial entry submissions will be limited to 300 words. Clear and concise statements of the problem or opportunity and your idea to address it are crucial. (* Hint: use a word document to check your word count prior to submitting online)
  3. Describe a problem or opportunity (in 75 words or less), and
  4. Describe your idea for addressing it (in 225 words or less).

We also encourage you to post a video to YouTube where you pitch your idea. Videos are not required, but they are encouraged as an effective way to communicate ideas to the review committee. YouTube videos are limited to 90 seconds and creativity is encouraged.

Open to diverse IDEAS (email with questions and for assistance).

Submit Your PCE Big IDEA Competition Entry

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Where Can You Make an Impact?

Below are a few areas where you may have an idea, but the possibilities are limitless!

1. Social or Environmental Issues

  • Social issues are getting increased attention as engaged citizens make their voices heard. Do you have an idea to address one of the social concerns of our time, on campus, in the community, the nation or the world?
  • The wildfires this year in the western United States and hurricanes in the southeast once again highlight some of the climate challenges we are facing. Do you have an idea to address an environmental challenge of our time?

2. Campus Innovations

  • Do you have an innovative idea that will enrich campus life?
  • Do you have ideas for new or enhanced approaches to course delivery and student engagement?
  • Any ideas for supporting the economic viability of the Mount?

3. Ideas that Generate Artistic Value

  • Do you have ideas that will engage more people in the arts?
  • This category is for ideas that would create artistic value in terms of increasing appreciation for the arts and their importance in society.
  • Do you have ideas for making art more accessible or ideas for commercializing art?

4. Commercial Applications of Research Projects

  • There are times when our academic research projects result in outcomes that may have social or commercial applications in the world. Do the results you are uncovering in your research project offer any opportunity to create a product, service, or social value?

5. New Products or Services

  • Do you have an idea for a new product or service that could meet a consumer need?
  • Is there an existing product or service that you currently are familiar that you feel can be improved? How?

6. Other ideas?

  • Ideas may be wide-ranging and outside the example categories represented here. There are no constraints to your opportunity recognition, creativity and vision.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021 by 11:59PM. Entry form submission deadline.

Entrants may include a link to an original YouTube video on their entry form describing their problem and their idea. Videos may not be longer than 90 seconds. The Palmieri Center is available to assist you in refining and communicating your idea. Email us at

Submit Your PCE Big IDEA Competition Entry

Wednesday, November 17, 2021. Invitations to finalists.

Students with the best IDEAS (as determined by an independent review panel) will be invited to participate in the Final Pitch Competition. These students will also be encouraged to sign up for virtual “Casting Calls” with the Palmieri Center where they may deliver their pitch and get feedback to refine it for the Final Pitch Competition.

Thursday, December 9, 2021 7:00PM – 8:30PM Final IDEA Pitch Competition

  • Finalists will give a live three-minute pitch to communicate to the panel of judges the problem or opportunity they have identified and their idea for a solution.
  • Judges will have a three-minute period for questions with each contestant/team, upon conclusion of their pitch.
  • Prizes will be awarded to individuals/teams with the top three ideas as determined by the judges.
  • A prize will also be awarded to the finalist’s pitch that communicates the idea in the most creative or entertaining way.
  • A "students' choice" prize will also be awarded.

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The prize for each category is as follows:

  • Best IDEA/$500
  • Second Place IDEA/$350
  • Third Place IDEA/$250
  • Best Pitch/$150
  • Students' Choice/$150

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Judging Process

Judging of entries will consist of two steps. First, an independent panel of reviewers will review and score all entries using a number of criteria (described below).

The reviewers will review both written submissions and accompanying YouTube videos.

The top 5-7 entries will be invited to pitch their idea in the Final Pitch Competition before a live audience and a small panel of judges.

The judging panel will select the Best IDEAs and the Best Pitch at the Final Pitch Competition. Students in attendance will select the "Students' Choice" award.

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Judging Criteria

Judges will consider the following criteria when reviewing and scoring submissions:

  1. Identification and Definition of the Problem/Opportunity – Has the problem/opportunity been described in a clear and convincing manner?
  2. Originality of the Idea – Is this an original idea? How innovative is the idea?
  3. Feasibility of Implementing the Solution/Idea – How practical is the idea to execute? How easily can barriers be overcome?
  4. Potential Social or Economic value of the idea – Does the idea create economic or social value? Is the value sufficiently higher than the resources likely to be needed for implementation (cost-benefit-ratio)?
  5. Impact of the Solution/Idea – What is the size of the population that will be impacted? What is the level of impact the idea will have on the identified problem/opportunity?

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Notice of Conditional Status

The Big IDEA Competition must generate enough complete submissions to be deemed by the review panel to constitute a valid competition. Should the Competition fail to garner a competitive slate of submissions, it may be cancelled or modified as appropriate.

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MSMU reserves the right to reject any entry that it determines, in its sole discretion, is obscene, vulgar, sexually explicit, lewd, derogatory, or otherwise inappropriate or in bad taste. This applies to written entries and accompanying videos.

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