Big Idea Competition Finals Will Put Kawasaki’s Art of Innovation on Display

Join us on Nov. 16 for the finals of the Big Idea Competition (formerly “Business” Idea Competition), UT Dallas’ largest startup pitch competition, presented this year by title sponsor, Interlock Partners. Students from all disciplines, both graduate and undergraduate, compete for $40,000 in cash and scholarship prizes in the finals. Over the past month, two rounds of judging have occurred, arriving at six finalists with the chance to pitch their “big ideas” in front of their peers and a panel of esteemed judges who know an innovative idea when they see it.

The finals will be held Thursday, Nov. 16, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building Lecture Hall (directions|map) on the UT Dallas campus. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Guy Kawasaki

One of the judges, Guy Kawasaki, is a renowned entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author who popularized the term “brand evangelist.” He was the chief evangelist at Apple when, in 1984, the company launched the Macintosh line, the first mass market personal computer. He now holds the same title at Canva, an online graphic design tool. In addition to his judging duties, Kawasaki, a popular, dynamic speaker who gives more than 50 keynotes every year, will share his top 10 tips on “The Art of Innovation.”

He will join a panel of esteemed judges who include:

Many, if not all, of Kawasaki’s innovation tips will be on display as the student competitors pitch their ideas before an expected audience of 1,200. Competitors will be judged on many criteria, including:

The six teams that will pitch their ideas at the finals are:

Prize categories for the student finalists include:

Additional special prize categories are open to the entire pool of competitors, including students, faculty, staff and alumni. A select committee of judges from the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) and the Jindal School of Management MS in Innovation and Entrepreneurship program will select the winning teams, with each team receiving a $2,500 grant, for the following categories:

The Big Idea Competition will include a special announcement regarding the launch of a new engineering-oriented awards competition that is a collaboration between the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the IIE. Prize money totals $40,000.

Other sponsors and community partners of the Big Idea Competition include Tolleson Wealth Management, Capital Factory, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, the Dallas chapter of TiE and Mass Challenge-Texas.


General admission tickets are $10. Click here to purchase general admission tickets. To skip the line, you can reserve orchestra seating for $45. Included with this package is a signed copy of Kawasaki’s book, The Art of the Start 2.0. Click here to purchase reserved tickets.


To learn more about the Big Idea Competition, visit