Top 10 Big Idea Blog Posts of 2022

2022 has been a year full of adventure, new beginnings, and incredible memories here at the Big Idea Center! With another year in the books, we would like to take a moment to look back and reflect upon the stories that 2022 has brought us as we highlight our 10 most popular Big Idea Blog posts of 2022! We hope that as you browse these insightful articles written by Pitt alum, current Pitt students, Big Idea Center staff, and more, that you gain inspiration from their points of view as well as additional knowledge to further equip you on your innovation and entrepreneurial journey as you head into 2023! Happy reading!

Get to Know Josie Stein '24, Big Idea Center Student Marketing Assistant

      We have a new face on the Big Idea Center team! We are excited to introduce Josie Stein, our first-ever Student Marketing Assistant! In this newly created role, Josie will help support our center's marketing efforts as we rapidly expand our services and offerings. Get to know more about Josie in this fun Q&A blog article!

Startup Tactics: 9 Lessons from a Veteran Entrepreneur - Patrick Jardini BS '12, MBA '17

    What does civilian life look like after active duty? For some veterans, they forge their own path by pursuing entrepreneurship. Veteran entrepreneurs bring a unique perspective to the table: from the battlefield to the business world, they bring unmatched tenacity, dedication, and discipline which serves them well in both areas. In honor of Veterans Day, our latest blog article highlights Patrick Jardini, U.S. Air Force veteran, Pitt alum, and Owner/President of American Gas Lamp Works, as he shares snippets of his military experience and how he incorporates the lessons learned into his entrepreneurial philosophy.

Seeking Out Failure - Anna Li '28

    The world of entrepreneurship is riddled with risk, and just the risk of experiencing failure alone is enough to make most people feel uncomfortable and doubt themselves. However, Pitt medical student and Founder/CEO of Korion Health Anna Li has a different approach to failure -- she has learned to not only embrace it, but also transform it into an empowering asset. In celebration of Women Entrepreneurship Week, Anna shares how her personal and professional life experiences have shaped her encouraging philosophy towards failure and discusses some key insights on adopting a similar state of mind about this daunting topic.

The AithELITE Story: A Former Pitt Student-Athlete’s Entrepreneurial Playbook to Intersecting AI and Athletics - Michael Vardzel '19

    In honor of homecoming week, our Big Idea Blog is showing some Panther pride with a new article written by Pitt College of Business Administration alum and former student-athlete Michael Vardzel '19, Founder & President of AithELITE! In our latest blog post, learn how Mike used his experience as a student-athlete and passion for coaching to develop his sports tech startup. Also, Mike shares some sport-inspired lessons that influenced his approach to entrepreneurship.

Get to Know Pitt's Newest Saxbys Student C.E.O.s: Shivani Gandhi '25, Dylan Minnick '24, & Maggie Yu '25

    In celebration of all Pitt Saxbys cafe locations opening on Monday, August 29, get to know the Pitt and College of Business Administration students who run them! In our newest blog post, Pitt Saxbys Student C.E.O.s Shivani Gandhi '25, Dylan Minnick '24, and Maggie Yu '25 (pictured above, left to right) talk about their Saxbys experience and lessons they've learned so far, what their favorite Saxbys menu item is, what things they're looking forward to this semester, and more!

Seven Touches: The Value of Follow-Up in Startup Fundraising - Dan Broderick

    Fundraising is one of the two hardest tasks entrepreneurs undertake. The other, even harder, task is to spend the money you do raise wisely.     This short article will focus on the first: raising capital for your startup company.      As for my background, I have been on both sides of the fundraising table, entrepreneur and investor. As an entrepreneur, I have successfully raised capital for startups and venture capital funds where I have been a founder and executive or general partner. As a venture capitalist, I have invested in dozens of companies and entrepreneurs and decided not to invest in hundreds (if not thousands) more.

A Dash of Determination: A Baker's Guide to Innovation - Maansi Shah '25

The BakedbyMaansi Story: The reason I started BakedbyMaansi was because of the pandemic. I was bored at home with nothing going on, so I started baking (a lot) to pass the time. I loved baking prior to the pandemic, especially in my free time, but it was hard to find the extra time to bake -- I would bake maybe once or twice in a span of six months. During lockdown, I was able to bake at least three or four times a month, and I would post my baked goods on my Snapchat story. However, I wanted to start sharing my desserts for more than twenty-four hours so others could remember the creations I’ve made. As a result, my Instagram account BakedbyMaansi was born!

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