After the Big Idea’s great success, Patrick Bultema, Executive Director of the competition, has continued working towards further integrating innovation and entrepreneurship into the goals of Colorado College students.
In doing so, Bultema has helped launch new competitions, hired a new Project Manager, Jill Lange, and has reached out to alumni in unique start-up and entrepreneurial fields.
“We have continued to progress and expand to become a broader innovation institute program,” said Bultema. “We have more connections, particularly with Colorado College alumni that are working in start-ups in our community.”
One of those start-ups, Get Outfitted, which won first place and $25,000 in the Big Idea competition last year, has seven employees, four of which are CC graduates.
“We also now have the Soup Project Challenge, which the Big Idea helped to facilitate,” said Bultema. “The challenge will not be annual, but rather is an attempt to solve the soup kitchen issue on campus. We will be giving out $20,000 to the team with the best idea for that solution.”
Pitches for the Soup Project Challenge are due March 5, whereas the final pitches for the Big Idea competition are due April 7. Bultema explains that students are encouraged to form teams and submit pitches for both competitions.
The half block course focused on preparing students for designing pitches will still be offered and is still open for students to sign up.
“The half block course is a great way to get plugged in for the Big Idea Competition and find team members,” said Bultema. “We also have an event on December 18 at the Morreale Carriage House where our new office is located to help form teams.”
Bultema continued to explain that the event hopes to bring together people that have an idea but no team and people who have a team but no pitch ideas.
Other events include the new outdoor industry focus event, which will feature CC alumni in the outdoors-start-up industry on Feb. 5.
“We realized that part of the reason CC kids are here is to be in the outdoors,” said Bultema. “So, we wanted to focus this year on the outdoor industry, conservation, sustainability, and a passion for doing things in the outdoors.”
Bultema hopes to bring in CC alumni from start-ups like Sweatgrass Productions and Sims Fly Fishing for an event featuring how they got started and tips on how to function in the outdoor start-up industry. He also plans to have a film screening to showcase the products that outdoor start-ups founded by CC alumni have created.
The Big Idea team is also working towards getting a certification program in innovation and entrepreneurship, collaborating with I.D.E.A. Space, State of the Rockies, PIFP, the Venture Grant program, Ashoka, and other Big Idea affiliates, and engaging the larger faculty community.
“Again, we are continuing to expand in a huge way,” said Bultema. “The certification program will allow students to put something on their resume that wouldn’t otherwise show up on their transcripts, and working with affiliates will only further our agenda.”
The Big Idea hosts guest speakers and holds workshops during their weekly Innovation Thursday meetings from 4-5:30 at the Morreale Carriage House across the parking lot from Boettcher Health Center.
More information on the timeline for the Big Idea Competition can be found on the Big Idea section of the Colorado College website.