Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament


The 2019 Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament will take place Saturday, April 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Northwestern Mutual's Cream City Labs in Milwaukee.

Register now to 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 register by April 5.


Keynote Speaker

Henry Schwartz, Co-Founder/President MobCraft Beer

Henry Schwartz's entrepreneurial career started at age 13 when he followed his passion for skateboarding. He owned and operated Board to Death Skate Shop in his teenage years prior to attending UW-Whitewater to study Entrepreneurship and Spanish.

Upon graduation, Schwartz co-founded MobCraft Beer, a crowdsourced brewery that turns people’s ideas into beer. MobCraft has grown from producing 200 gallons of crowdsourced beer each month to offering a full product line of beers brewed 1,800 gallons at a time. MobCraft’s beers are made in a 14,000 square-foot brewery in the Walker’s Point neighborhood of Milwaukee.

Schwartz is a seasoned world traveler who likes to push the boundaries of the status quo and bring innovative ideas to life. In 2017, he was named the SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

What's the Big Idea?

The Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament 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 2019 International Business Model Competition (IBMC) in May 2019.

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. 1st place winner will receive:
    • Cash prizes
    • Up to $25,000 in funding through Ideadvance
    • Paid travel to the International Business Model Competition May 2019 with the opportunity to present on an international stage and win up to a further $27,000
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.

The Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament represents a new paradigm in entrepreneurship. This 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.

2019 Sponsors


Host Partner