Get to Know Our RFBIC 2021 Grand Prize Team, ReSolution!

The ReSolution team (pictured from left to right): Evan Kerin, Lia Franco, Brendan Mostek, and Maggie Daluga. Photo courtesy of Evan Kerin   After our 2021 Randall Family Big Idea Competition Virtual Awards Ceremony, we at the Big Idea Center caught up with the grand prize winning team, ReSolution, to discuss how four engineering students became entrepreneurs and what their next steps are to bring to life their idea to eliminate common causes of irritation and infection for contact users through the use of their automatic, self-cleaning, portable contact case.  

SimpL Awarded $30,000 at Prestigious Rice Business Plan Competition

Photo courtesy of Rice University Not long after receiving a Young Entrepreneur Award from the NFL Players Association, Pitt senior Kunal Gandhi’s startup, SimpL, gained even more momentum when the company was awarded $30,000 in the prestigious Rice Business Plan Competition earlier in April.

Meet LaMonica Wiggins, Pitt's Entrepreneurship Librarian

  Today is National Librarian Day! Did you know that Pitt has its own entrepreneurship librarian? In our newest blog article, get to know LaMonica Wiggins (pictured above) and learn what led her to become an entrepreneurship librarian, what her favorite small businesses are, what library resources are available specifically for Pitt student entrepreneurs, and much more! LaMonica is a dear friend of the Big Idea Center and we are excited to feature this awesome lady on a day honoring librarians around the nation! Read LaMonica's full interview below.

Sustainability in the Science Industry: Polycarbin Feature

Prized for their performance and affordability, single-use plastics are at the heart of the modern health science economy and a necessary tool for life-enhancing innovations.  While single-use plastics have accelerated the rate of scientific discovery, they have also increased the industry’s dependence on fossil fuels. This year, in the midst of a global pandemic, the U.S. will dispose of greater than 3 billion lbs. of single-use plastics by way of incineration or landfill. This linear process - whereby laboratory products are made, used, and then discarded - necessitates the continued extraction and emission of carbon in the forms of oil and natural gas. 

Plastic Isn't All That Fantastic - Trek Gum's Life Cycle Assessment Towards Sustainability

  Hey there! My name is Emily Siegel, and I’m the founder and CEO of Trek Gum, an all-natural chewing gum company that incorporates functional ingredients into every chew.   My startup story originated when a childhood idea and a portable oral care dilemma decided to cross paths. As a kid, I always dreamed of having a gum that could clean my teeth on-the-go, because I was horrible at remembering to brush before school yet always had minty gum in my backpack that I tricked myself into thinking was effective. As college student, my oral care routine was the least of my worries while drowning in class work, at least until the cavities started to catch up with me.

Closing the Food-Loop: How Ecotone Renewables is Addressing the Issue of Food Waste

                    Ecotone Renewables is closing the food-loop by recapturing lost nutrients and creating hyper-local energy production.     Our cultures, identities, social outings and lifestyles have a lot to do with the food we eat. We prepare food elegantly for restaurant goers, present food regularly on network tv shows, spend billions on the production and transportation of food from farm to plate, and strengthen community and family ties over a shared meal at dinner. With food being so ingrained in our social lives, we can sometimes forget about the main purpose of food: to sustain life. As this simple fact slips our minds, we find people holding gold, oil, data, or other assets at a greater valuable; thus, food is also one of the most wasted commodities on the planet.

Women Investing in Women: A Future of Possibilities

When I am asked why I invest in women entrepreneurs, I usually hear something like, “Wow, I can tell you are really passionate about this.” In truth, there is no other topic that gets me more fired up than why women need to invest in women entrepreneurs. I became an angel investor over four years ago when I joined Next Act Fund, the only angel fund in Pittsburgh dedicated to connecting women investors to women entrepreneurs. Since then, I have shared our message with anyone who will kindly listen, explaining why we must work to close the enormous funding gap between men and women.  Today, while we are still reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, that message is more important than ever.

Resources for Black Entrepreneurs

Here at the Big Idea Center, we believe that entrepreneurship is for everyone. In support and observance of Black History Month, we're providing this helpful list of resources for Black entrepreneurs as a way to help connect them to organizations and programs that are known to support minority-owned businesses throughout the region! Please view our non-exhaustive directory below:

5 Ways the Big Idea Center Can Boost Your Resume

The Big Idea Center is an on-campus, inclusive innovation catalyst that develops a unique skillset valuable not only to those wishing to become an entrepreneur themselves, but also to those who are looking for a corporate job and simply want to boost their resume! Here are the top five reasons how we can make your resume stand out, no matter what your student level, course of study, or career goals may be.