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College of Business Administration

The Next Big Thing 2013 

The Next Big Thing is a new venture idea competition that awards a total of $20,000, office space, and mentoring to students to help pursue their idea. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students or teams from all majors. 

Sign up here

First 300 to sign up, receive a free T-shirt

YouTube Elevator Pitch voting is now open, click here to watch all the videos. You can vote daily. 


Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 – 5 to 7 p.m.; Big 12 Room, K-State Student Union
Orientation and team networking

Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 - 1:30- 2:20; Alumni Center Ballroom
Elevator Pitch Seminar in Partnership with the National Strategic Selling Institute: Post a YouTube video of your sales pitch on why your idea is the Next Big Thing, then upload the file to YouTube and KSOL. Upload begins on February 18, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 5 to 7 p.m.; Seaton 306
Open Workshop / Q&A. Bring your final questions and seek advice prior to submitting your plan.

Friday, March 15, 2013 – 5 p.m. 
Executive Summary is due to KSOL Dropbox

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Next Big Thing finalists are announced


Eligibility, Guidelines and Additional Information

Student Qualifications

The Next Big Thing Idea Competition is open to all full and part-time undergraduate and graduate Kansas State University students enrolled during the Spring 2013 semester. Non-students may be members of the management team and advise the team; however, only students may present the plan to the judges during the competition on campus, and the concept and venture must demonstrate student management and ownership.

Team Qualifications

Individuals may submit a concept, however entrepreneurship teams are encouraged. Student teams should not exceed 5 students. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with talented people when running a flourishing business. Students are encouraged to find a partner to help them develop their idea and to round out their management team.

Concept Qualifications

The Next Big Thing is for new, independent student ventures in the concept stage or seed stage. Generally excluded from entry are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, and licensing agreements for distribution in the local market. The licensing of Kansas State University technologies or Kansas State University research that has not been previously commercialized is not excluded and is encouraged.

Limit on Ideas

Teams or individuals may submit only one idea for the competition. Teams that made the finals in previous Next Big Thing competitions may not submit the same idea for a future competition.


Representatives from chosen teams must be present and able to attend the Next Big Thing idea competition Thursday, April 4th from 11:00am – 5:00pm and the Celebration of Entrepreneurship Social held later that evening. At the social not all team members need to be present, although attendance is encouraged.


Written Idea Feasibility Guidelines

The written executive summary must be submitted in electronic, PDF Document format, by 5:00 pm, March 15, 2013 to the K-State Online Dropbox.
The executive summary presents the idea for initial evaluation in a short and compelling form. This is not a research report. It is a sales pitch! The effort involved in preparing the concept requires the team to carefully and realistically assess the opportunity. This action is the first step in developing a business plan. The idea feasibility, when completed, will present the key information needed to evaluate the opportunity, without going into the depth that a full business plan requires. The completed executive summary should be no more than three pages. A panel of judges will determine the finalists by reviewing the executive summaries. The top teams will then make oral presentations on April 4th to a separate panel of judges who will then determine the winners.

Oral Presentation Guidelines for the Finalists
Note: These guidelines are for all oral presentations given in The Next Big Thing Idea Competition held on Thursday, April 4th, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 5:00pm.

  • All competing teams must submit their final PowerPoint presentation by 5:00 pm on Monday, April 1, 2013 to the K-State Online Dropbox. In order to keep to our tight schedule, no changes can be made after that time.
  • This PowerPoint should be no more than 12 slides long and cover the information outlined in the written idea feasibility presentation. You should assume that the judges will not have read your written concept, so the PowerPoint should provide a complete explanation of the concept. A suggested outline is:

1. Intro: What's your idea?
2. Management: Who's on your team?
3. Market Need: Who are your customers?
4. Value Proposition: Why will they buy?
5. Competition: Who's your competition?
6. Strategy: How do you generate sales?
7. Financial: How many will you sell? At what cost?
8. Plan: What are your next steps?

  • Time limits for oral presentations will be discussed at the announcement of the finalists. A common strategy is for one member of the team to give the bulk of the The NEXT Big Thing Idea Competition Eligibility & Guidelines presentation while other members provide support in areas of their respective expertise.
  • During the 1st round, teams will present in front of only the judges and assistants for the NEXT Big Thing. No general audience or other teams are allowed to hear the presentation.
  • A laptop and audio visual equipment will be provided with your PowerPoint file already downloaded. It is recommended that all teams come prepared with a backup copy on a USB drive. Visual aides are allowed and encouraged.
  • The finals presentation may be in front of a general audience. Therefore, the final PowerPoint presentation should not contain any proprietary information.
  • Remember oral presentation should be compelling and persuasive! This is not a research report, where you demonstrate that you did the work, but a sales pitch where you convince the judges that you and your team can succeed.
  • Some resources that can help you prepare for the competition include:

1) An Forbes article w/ excerpts from "the Art of Pitching" :
2) A few short reminders from a VC blog:
3) Articles on improving your use of PowerPoint from sociablemedia.com:
4) And if you're really serious, take a look at some of the videos from the Moot
Corp business plan competition, which will let you see the range of styles
students use at this premier national business plan competition and some of the
questions real investors ask:



Frequently Asked Questions

Is the competition open to students in all majors? 
Yes!  The competition is open to all Kansas State University students in any major.  In our feasibility planning sessions you will learn all the details on how to write a feasibility plan.  No matter your background you can be successful in the competition.

Do I need a prototype of my idea?
No. You do not need to have a prototype of your idea.  However, although a prototype is not required for the competition, the use of visual aides, models, etc are very helpful in presenting unique ideas to judges.  The Next Big Thing competition considers whether your idea is feasible as a business. This is generally the first step of starting a business.  It is important to ascertain whether your idea will be successful in the marketplace by looking at competitors, financials, etc. 

What are examples of past Next Big Thing ideas?
There has been a wide variety of ideas submitted to the Next Big Thing competition.  Any idea you're passionate is worthwhile!  Here are a few examples of past NBT submissions:

Rainwater collection and purification system
Marathon event
Writing education program
Micro-lending business
Teen club
Catering business
Event planning business
Pest control
Organic and locally grown foods
Budget hotel accommodations
Food cooling and storage product
Grain elevator improvement
Bakery club
Biodiesel manufacturing
Custom seating for construction machinery

Who do I contact for more questions?

If you have more questions, please contact Chad Jackson, associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. cjackson@k-state.edu