Innovation (and ice cream) is on the menu at upcoming Big Idea kickoff


By Michael Yeomans

Do you have an idea that can change the world and need help bringing it to life? Or if you don’t have a big idea, would you like to help another student who does?
Either way, the Big Idea Center at the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute is Pitt’s home for innovation and entrepreneurship and is here to help you.
Whether you are an undergrad with a great idea for a new app, physical product or nonprofit social enterprise, or a grad student working on groundbreaking Pitt research, the Big Idea Center has the resources, mentorship and space for your ideas to take root.
What’s more, you don’t need your own idea to participate. You can lend your knowledge and skills in coding, marketing, engineering, presenting and more to a team that can benefit from your involvement.
“The Big Idea Center is a resource for all Pitt students, from freshman to postdocs,” said Babs Carryer, director of the Big Idea Center. “The skills you learn in developing a new idea through the experiential activities we provide will give you an advantage in all of your future career and personal endeavors.”
The Big Idea Center’s first-semester activities begin Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Big Idea Kickoff, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the O’Hara Student Center Dining Room. It’s an ice cream social where you get your ice cream and find your toppings at the networking tables.
At this event you will meet like-minded students from across the university, as well as Big Idea Center staff, entrepreneurs in residence, and members of the Pitt and Pittsburgh innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
You can learn about some of the exciting opportunities to explore innovation and entrepreneurship at Pitt, all while building an ice cream sundae.
You can also share your ideas and recruit teammates for an upcoming idea hacking event:
IBM BlueHack
IBM Bluehack is a weekend event where students brainstorm ideas to transform healthcare. Students form teams and engage in a friendly competition. The event is sponsored by IBM, parent company of the Watson artificial intelligence platform, and Amerisource Bergen. The weekend is interspersed with fun activities, and food is provided throughout the weekend. The event concludes with the student teams presenting their ideas in front of a panel of IBM employees. Prizes are awarded.
When: Oct. 26 & 27
Where: Information Sciences Building
135 N. Bellefield Ave., third floor
Looking ahead, mark your calendar for Pitt X CMU Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 15-21, 2019. This week is packed with events that bring together students from Pitt and CMU to engage in entrepreneurial activities, including a friendly pitch competition.
Other events include, the Money Table, where students get to flip the script and put themselves in the role of an angel investor evaluating a startup investment opportunity. The Steel City Startups event kicks off the week with TEDx-style presentations from Pitt and CMU innovators. A Social Innovation Panel shows how regional startups and nonprofits are taking action to solve regional, national or global challenges.
To learn more about these events and register to attend, visit
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