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Move, Pitch, get out of the way: Students compete in Big Idea! contest for cash

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Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Updated: Sunday, January 19, 2014 14:01

Big Idea!

Photo by J.Christoffersen/ The Gateway

Winners Jacob Robinson and Kayla Timm were presented with the award from Willy Theisen


The fourth annual University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Big Idea! Elevator Pitch contest concluded on Nov. 11 at the College of Business Administration’s Mammel Hall.  The contest offered cash prizes to students from all colleges who pitched their ideas in a minute long video, then later pitched it in front of  judges and an audience.

“The criteria [for the ideas] is there needs to be an issue to be solved, have a solution, how it would work and what impact would it have,” said Dr. Dale Eesley, founder of Big Idea! and UNO professor. 

The contest started with each college having its own section where students could submit their video pitches. Approximately 150 students submitted ideas.

Votes were then cast, and the top three winners by popular vote in the College of Business Administration (CBA) advanced to the live pitch round. Since there were not enough entries in other colleges, Eesley selected several more students to compete in the live round. 11 pitches were judged in the live round. 

“My idea centered around a drone sharing program,” said Kyle Tautenhan, a student from CBA who came in third in the votes. “You could pull out your phone and [the drone] will fly to you.” 

Tautenhan based his idea on the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration will open the skies to commercial drone usage in 2015. Drone use is projected to bring in $6 billion by 2016. Although Tautenhan didn’t win the grand prize, he garnered interest from a contractor with the Department of Defense.

The winner of the $1,000 grand prize was Jacob Robinson and Kayla Timm, with their idea of the Mojo Meter. Their idea focused around UNO students accumulating points for participating in activities such as student groups and sports. The points would then be put back on the student’s MavCard as cash that they could use at local businesses that accept MavMoney

Eesley hopes that the contest will continue to grow and include more students from UNO’s different colleges. 

“The contest encourages non-CBA students to see that College of Business Administration is here to help them,” Eesley said.

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