Big Idea Pitch Competition

Maybe you've got a new idea for a business? Come pitch your big idea at the NIU Business Olympics. Meet like-minded entrepreneurs and get valuable feedback from judges and potential investors.


All students who register will be provided guidelines on the best way to prepare their pitch. Individuals and teams (one-five members) have five minutes to pitch your new business idea to a panel of judges who will be rating it on the strength and feasibility of your idea. Please note that no slides, visual aids or prototypes will be allowed.

Key Questions Your Pitch Should Address

  • What is your technology, product or service? Briefly describe what you sell and the need it fulfills... what is the problem and what is your solution... how do you eliminate/reduce the "pain"
  • Who is your target market? Briefly, state who you are selling this product or service to... how large is the market... what industry is it in?
  • How do you expect to make money/what is your business model? Describe the sources of revenue and how you intend to get the product/service to the buyer.
  • Who is your competition? Competition is positive as it confirms/verifies that a market exists... all products and services have competition.
  • What is your competitive advantage? What makes you different/unique... Why do you have an advantage over others... How will your company provide this product or service better than the competition?
  • Who is behind the company? "Bet on the jockey, not the horse"... Explain how your experiences give you credibility... you, your team, your advisory board, etc.

Elements of an Effective Pitch

  • When possible, tell a story
  • Have a "hook... an early statement that grabs listeners' attention
  • Be passionate, powerful, and energetic
  • Be goal-oriented... end with a specific outcome in mind... a request
  • Be succinct, concise and clear
  • Pitch your business model more than your technology... don't overwhelm with technology or statistics
  • Don't cram... a little less info is better than speed talking
  • Revise regularly
  • Practice, practice, practice... pitch a friend or spouse... record and critique yourself

Big Idea Pitch Competition: Important Deadline and Instructions

Registration is due no later than Friday, March 8, 2024.

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