News and Notes

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of Idaho State University

March 31, 2014 — Vol. 30 No. 11

Semifinalists to Compete in the BIG Competition

Could the next "BIG" thing for Southeastern Idaho's economy be a company that produces a device that alerts anglers they have a fish on their fishing pole, or one that taps the billion-dollar potential of the future of unmanned aircraft systems?

These are among the ideas that the 12 semifinalists for the BIG (Business, Innovation and Growth) Competition - that has upcoming semi-finals and finals events at Idaho State University April 3 and 4 - have proposed. Some other semi-finalist ideas include expanding a local brewery to begin the bottling and canning of its brew, and creating wireless ear-buds with a built-in MP3 storage device to allow users easy-listening to their favorite tunes.

The BIG Competition, designed to educate eastern Idaho entrepreneurs, inventors and students about early stage financing, is sponsored by Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho State University (ISU), Grow Idaho Falls, Bannock Development and the Eastern Idaho Economic Development Council. It is designed to help build up the eastern Idaho business start-up community.

The contest features more than $5,000 in prizes for winners in two tracks, collegiate and community.

"The semi finals going to be very exciting a good mix of collegiate and community track participants," said Rick Paul, ISU College of Technology entrepreneurship and small business instructor. "Some of the ideas being presented include brand new inventions never seen before, several of them are proposals for social entrepreneur businesses and one is for an incubator to help small businesses in the region become more successful."

The respective semi-finalists who submitted proposals and were judged earlier this month are:

"INL is pleased to participate with ISU and other sponsors to make the BIG competition even bigger this year with the addition of the new collegiate track specifically designed to increase student participation in start-ups," said Stephanie Cook, with the INL's Technology Based Economic Development Office and one of the event's organizers. "I'm excited to see the presentations."

These semi-finalists will compete in the contest's semifinals from 4 to 7 p.m. April 3 at the North/South Lecture Hall in the Idaho State University Roy F. Christensen Building on the ISU Pocatello campus. This event will feature 10-minute presentations by each team followed by a question-and-answer session. Eight finalists, four from each track, will be announced.

The eight finalists selected from this group will compete in the final from 2 to 7 p.m. April 4 in the ISU College of Business Auditorium, Room 104 of the ISU Business Administration Building. The teams will have a 12-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session and finalists will be awarded. Both the semi-finals and finals are open to the public.

For more information on the competition, visit