Big Ideas Contest Launches for 2016

The annual Big Ideas Contest calls for groundbreaking initiatives that have a social impact. Students can view an online info session 10/12. Read more in the News section.

Posted September 6, 2016 on the Big Ideas website.

The annual Big Ideas Contest launches on September 6th. As one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious social impact contests, Big Ideas provides up to $300,000 directly to students each year for their groundbreaking initiatives. Armed with the training and seed funding provided by Big Ideas, student teams have gone on to secure over $150 million in additional funding for their for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid ventures.

For many students, Big Ideas serves as the first step in turning a dream into a viable product, service, or organization. Undergraduate and graduate students receive valuable feedback, work with mentors at the top of their fields, and have multiple opportunities to expand their professional networks.

In the 2016-17 contest, Big Ideas is bringing back its 8 categories from last year: Art & Social Change, Energy & Resource Alternatives, Financial Inclusion, Food Systems, Global Health, Improving Student Life, Information Technology for Society, and Scaling Up Big Ideas, for past winners only.


Pre-proposal Deadline: November 16

Big Ideas applicants should make sure to take advantage of the following resources before the deadline:

Advising Hours & Editing Blitz

  • Share your proposal and get feedback from an advisor! There are now additional hours on the advising calendar, including all day on November 14 & 15 for final edits. Advising is open to students from all participating schools & can be conducted via Skype.
  • Sign up now!

Pre-proposal Writing Best Practices

For more information about timelines, rules, categories, resources, funding, and contact information, please visit the Big Ideas website.