thinkBIG! Event
thinkBIG! Challenge

Submit your business venture or social enterprise concept to compete for $9,000 in prizes and recognition as a Veale Innovator!

Challenge Timeline

January 7, 2019: Round 1 Submissions Due
January 28, 2019: Semifinalists Announced
February 8-9, 2019: Semifinalists invited to attend one Executive Coaching Day
February 20, 2019: Round 2 (Semifinalists) Submissions Due
March 1, 2019: Final Four Announced
March 12, 2019: thinkBIG! Summit


Competition rounds
Rules & Eligibility
Frequently Asked Questions

Competition Rounds

Round 1: Idea Development & Written Submission Round

Students start by forming a challenge team (comprised of 1 to 4 members) that explores and develops big ideas for business ventures or social enterprises. Teams submit an online entry that describes their concept and outlines the problem, the solution, customers, the competition, assets needed, challenges, and financial feasibility.

Tools for Round 1: Click circles below for Challenge questions & judging rubrics:

Judges for Round 1

  • Ian Charnas, Case Western Reserve University
  • Jay Schach, Cleveland State University
  • Doan Winkel, John Carroll University
  • Amy Young, MAGNET
  • Julie Messing, LaunchNET, Kent State University
  • Victoria Avi, LaunchNET, Case Western Reserve University
Round 2: Video & Slide Deck Submission Round

Semifinalist teams are competing to become a Final Four Challenge team! To submit a slide deck and video for judging, semifinalists must first upload a 60-90 second pitch video to YouTube, then submit the URL and slide deck directly to bfairchild@vealefound.org for Round 2 judging.

Round 2

Round 2

Judges for Round 2

  • Sonny Ali, Toshiba
  • Eric Schwartz, BNY Mellon Wealth Management
  • Victoria Avi, LaunchNET, Case Western Reserve University
  • Anastasia Rokisky, WEF Global Shapers
  • Daoning Zhou, Cohen & Company
Round 3: Final Four – Live Pitch Challenge at the Summit on March 12, 2019

The Final Four Challenge teams make 5-7 minute live pitches at the Summit followed by Q&A with the judges and compete for the Grand Prize! Final pitch presentations must be submitted using an entry form that will become available in March 2019.


Simple Starters, Inc. – Hoover High School

UberED – GlenOak High School

The Ball Out App – University School

Sitter Simple – Hathaway Brown School


Judges for Round 3

  • Adam Dunn, Cleveland Co-Labs
  • Ann Makosinski
  • Bob Sopko, Director, LaunchNET at Case Western Reserve University

*Judges for all rounds may be added or changed as required.



Over $9,000 in cash prizes!

Each Final Four team member also receives:
– Veale Innovator Medals

For Mini Maker Hackathon team at the Summit
– Each First Place team member is awarded $50 cash


For School Sponsoring the Grand Prize Team
– Traveling Veale Innovation Cup Trophy