The region’s top innovators will compete for a $10,000 prize offered by billionaire philanthropist and entrepreneur Todd Wagner during an event at Bellarmine University on Friday, March 21, 2014.
The competition, dubbed “the Search for the Next Big Thing,” will be limited to 100 participants, who will discuss their ideas with high-profile entrepreneurs and potential investors during the Friday event and at an Innovation Mixer held the prior evening.
The competition is sponsored by the Todd Wagner Foundation, Bellarmine University’s schools of business and communication, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Louisville Metro Department of Economic Growth and Innovation. The entry fee is $199, with proceeds benefitting the Meade Activity Center, a planned wellness and community center in Brandenburg, Ky.
Innovators can apply for the competition online at http://www.thesearchforthenextbigthing.com.
"A big idea can come from anywhere,” said Wagner. “Successful entrepreneurs believe in their ideas, take chances and are willing to work harder than anyone else to make it happen. This competition is a chance to promote innovation within ourselves and our communities. I’m looking forward to meeting with all of these people and hearing about how they want to change things for the better. As a kid from Indiana, I’m going to feel right at home.”
On the morning of March 21, participants will showcase their innovations at tables throughout Bellarmine's Frazier Hall. Judges will select the top five innovators, who will present their ideas that afternoon as they compete for the $10,000 prize.
The judges include Wagner, Kentucky Economic Development secretary Larry Hayes, CompaniesWood principal Phoebe Wood, Commonwealth Leverage Group founding partner John Reinhart and Signature Healthcare chief development officer Rich Tinsley.
Wagner and Mark Cuban co-founded Broadcast.com, which Yahoo! purchased in 1999 in a deal valued at $5.7 billion. His latest venture is Chideo, an interactive voting and video platform where celebrities and fans connect to raise money for charitable causes. Wagner now partners with Cuban on several entertainment ventures, including 2929 Productions, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres and AXS TV. He has led the Todd Wagner Foundation for more than a decade.