An online business plan competition open to all high school students in Northeast Ohio, offering more than $9,000 in prizes. Semifinalists will be invited to attend an Executive Coaching Day and receive guidance from entrepreneurial professionals in the Cleveland business community. The Final 4 teams will compete live at the thinkBIG! Summit in March.

How it Works

Round 1: Idea Development & Written Submission Round

  • Teams (comprised of 1 to 4 members) will submit an Executive Summary that explores and develops ideas for business ventures in one of two tracks: Innovation or Small Business.
  • Small business ideas should be able to be realistically started by high school students with under $10,000.
  • The Executive Summary should be no more than 5 pages in length and must describe the concept and outline the problem, the solution, customers, the competition, assets needed, challenges, and financial feasibility.

Deadline for Round 1 Submission: December 30, 2020 (Online)

Semifinalists Proceeding to Round 2 Announced: January 11, 2021

Round 2: Video and Slide Deck Submission Round

Semifinalist teams compete in Round 2 to become a Final Four Challenge team. A slide deck and 60-90 second pitch video will be required for judging.

Round 3: Live Pitch at thinkBIG! Summit

The Final Four teams will present live in front of judges and attendees at the thinkBIG! Summit on March 2, 2021. Two teams from each track will compete for the cash prizes.

Please download required challenge documents for both tracks here:

Download a sample of a Small Business Executive Summary:


Over $9,000 in prizes!

Each Final Four team member also receives,  Veale Innovator Medals

For Mini Maker Hackathon team at the Summit – Each First Place team member is awarded $50 cash

For the School Sponsoring the Grand Prize Team a Traveling Veale Innovation Cup Trophy is presented

Deadline for entries

December 30, 2020 Online

Semifinalists announced

January 11, 2021 Online

Executive Coaching Days

January 22-23, 2021 Sears think[box] (CWRU)

Finalists’ live pitch competition

March 2, 2021 Tinkham Veale University Center (CWRU)

Please view all rules, eligibility, terms, and conditions for the 2021 thinkBIG! Challenge here:

Areas of Focus:

Networking, Entrepreneurial Mindset, Design thinking, Validation, Sales and Operations, Online Marketing, Finance and Accounting, Effective Communication, Collaboration, Public Speaking
  • Dates:
    Deadline for Round 1 Submission: December 30, 2020 (Online)
  • Location: Submit Online
  • Fee: No Charge

Register Now

This name will become your official Team Name. You will need it in subsequent rounds, should your idea advance. (Example: Team Locateria: Farm Fresh Cafeteria Food for All)
Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 4 files.
• Please upload your Executive Summary. Maximum 5 pages.(Max 32 MB: .pdf, .doc, .docx format)* Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx. • If applicable, you may upload up to three images (sketches, diagrams, prototype photos, etc.) that showcase your business or innovation. Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, jpeg.