Mercer Innovation Center Selects ‘The Next Big Idea’ Among Eight Finalists in Business Pitch Competition

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MACON, GA— April 20, 2016– The finals of the Mercer Innovation Center’s Next Big Idea competition took place Saturday from 1-3:30 p.m. in Science and Engineering Building Room 110, where $9,000 in prize money was awarded to students with the best business pitches.

The 2016 Next Big Idea Business Pitch Competition is sponsored by the new Mercer Innovation Center and is aimed at encouraging Mercer students to think innovatively and become entrepreneurs. It is open to any Mercer undergraduate student who has a unique idea. Students can compete as individuals or in a team of up to 5.

This year’s first place winner was Zanglers who won $6000 towards making their big idea a reality! The second place winner was Gathering Grounds who won $2500. Honey B Books and the Sole Swap will share the $500 Bear’s Choice prize, as their video pitches received the most votes on the competition’s YouTube channel.

All Mercer undergraduate students were eligible to enter the The Next Big Idea competition as individuals or teams of up to five people. Each entry included a two-minute video pitch and one-page business canvas.

“The Next Big Idea pitch competition meets a primary goal of the Mercer Innovation Center, which is to inspire a spirit of entrepreneurship among our students,” said Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship in Mercer’s Stetson School of Business and Economics and faculty adviser for The Next Big Idea competition.

“We are excited to help our students think innovatively and nurture their ideas. We are looking forward to the development of many new entrepreneurial ventures from this competition.”

About the Mercer Innovation Center

The Mercer Innovation Center is an effort by Mercer University, along with community partners such as the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, Birch Communications and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to advance a culture of innovation and develop a thriving community of entrepreneurs, with a focus on utilizing technology to foster economic growth, create 21st century jobs and attract and retain talent. The Center is an institutional effort – led by the Stetson School of Business and Economics – that crosses academic disciplines and geographic boundaries to draw from all of the University’s colleges, schools, departments and operating units. Community memberships are available, as the Center’s activities and resources are intended to be available to Mercer students and non-students alike. For more information, visit

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