Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament

The 2017 Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament will take place Saturday, April 22 from 9am to 2:30 pm at the Discovery Building in Madison, WI.

WiSys Technology Foundation has partnered with the UW-Extension to expand and enhance the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament (WBIT), a UW System student entrepreneurship competition where the winner goes on to compete on an international stage.

The new partnership will build on the success of WBIT while using WiSys' connections to the regional comprehensive campuses across the UW System, as well as the two-year colleges, to grow the competition in the years to come.

What will stay the same

Campus leaders will continue to be a valued partner in the process of recruiting teams and encouraging student participation, as well as hosting campus "qualifying competitions" to select teams to compete in the state finals. Students who advance to the WBIT will receive cutting-edge Lean Startup business development tools and training, including access to industry mentors, and will have the opportunity to compete in the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) for a $25,000 prize.

What's new

WiSys will use its connection with UW System campuses through the Regional Associate and Ambassador programs to establish a broader reach, get more campuses involved and encourage more students to participate.


Register now to attend the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament and get a sneak peek at the future of entrepreneurship in Wisconsin! This event is free and open to the public, but we ask that you please RSVP by April 14.


What's the Big Idea?

WBIT is an entrepreneurship competition open to undergraduate and graduate students attending any two- or four-year University of Wisconsin school across the state (except UW-Madison). It teaches cutting-edge Lean Startup business development tools, provides business mentorship, and allows participants to compete at a state level for a chance to win seed funding for their idea as well as a chance to compete internationally at the 2017 International Business Model Competition (IBMC) scheduled to be held in Silicon Valley.

Interested in Learning more?

Why Participate?

  • Learn critical entrepreneurship skills and apply cutting-edge Lean Startup business development tools to help you better develop your business concept
  • Test your business idea and present findings at the state level WBIT finals scheduled to be held April 22, 2017 in Madison. 1st place winner will receive:
    • $2,000 cash prize
    • Free one-hour consultation with the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School
    • Up to $25,000 in funding through Ideadvance
    • Paid travel to Silicon Valley with the opportunity to present on an international stage and win up to a further $27,000 at the IBMC scheduled to be held May 11-12th, 2017 in California.
See the benefits of participating

Is this just another Business Model Competition?

Over 85 percent of new businesses fail within a few years, often because they try to plan their way to success. It’s time to change.

WBIT represents a new paradigm in entrepreneurship. WBIT is not a business plan competition but rather a business idea competition based on a new way of thinking about the entrepreneurial process and business concept development. Instead of preparing a detailed business plan, student teams will identify and test their business assumptions EARLY in order to quickly identify customers and market potential and present the findings of their work in a brief 10 minute presentation to judges.