thinkBIG! Summit 22-23 » Veale Entrepreneurs


  • Dates: March 7, 2023
  • Location: Case Western Reserve University
  • Time: 9:00 am-1:20 pm
  • Fee: No Charge

Funding for travel to programs may be available to non-Forum schools. Please contact us at for more information.

thinkBIG! 2023 Photo Gallery

What is the thinkBIG! Summit?

Jason Feifer, Keynote

Jason Feifer
Entrepreneur Magazine, Editor in Chief
2023 thinkBIG! Summit Keynote Speaker

The thinkBIG! Summit provides a climactic close to the annual thinkBIG! Challenge by providing a platform for the Final Four Challenge teams to pitch their ideas. The finalists present to a panel of volunteer judges as part of the full-day conference on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.

The thinkBIG! Summit kicks off every year with an inspirational keynote speech. Past keynote presentations focused on youth entrepreneurship have featured Yelitsa Jean-Charles, founder & ceo of Healthy Roots Dolls, Shane Feldman, founder & ceo of Count Me In, Ann Makosinski, inventor, and Gerard Adams, entrepreneur.

The keynote presentation is followed by our attendee favorite mini-maker hack-a-thon led by the staff at Upcycle Parts Shop. Each table of students is asked to work as a team to craft an innovative physical product made of recycled materials and to create a short pitch to sell it. Four final teams will pitch their product to audience members for a chance to win a cash prize.  

The day continues featuring a panel discussion with several young entrepreneurs building successful businesses here in Cleveland. The panelists will discuss their personal journeys as young entrepreneurs and provide advice the students may use in their own journeys.

After lunch, the day concludes with the culmination of the thinkBIG! Challenge! The challenge is an online business plan competition consisting of two tracks – Small Business and Innovation. The competition is open to all high school students in Northeast Ohio, offering more than $8,000 in prizes. Four finalists advance to present live on stage at the thinkBIG! Summit. The next thinkBIG! Summit will be held on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

thinkBIG! Summit 2023 Speakers
2022 thinkBIG! Summit pitch

2023 thinkBIG! Challenge & Summit Timeline

Entry Deadline: Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Semifinalists Announced: Friday, January 13, 2023
Executive Coaching Sessions: Friday, January 27 or Saturday, January 28, 2023
Finalists’ Live Pitch Competition: Tuesday, March 7, 2023

2023 Keynote Speaker, Emcee and Panelists

Jason Feifer, Keynote
Jason Feifer, Keynote

Jason Feifer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine, a startup advisor, host of the podcasts Build For Tomorrow and Problem Solvers, and has taught his techniques for adapting to change at companies including Pfizer, Microsoft, Chipotle, DraftKings, and Wix. He has worked as an editor at Fast Company, Men’s Health, and Boston magazine, and has written about business and technology for the Washington Post, Slate, Popular Mechanics, and others.

Jeffrey Stern, Emcee

Jeffrey Stern is a co-founder and product manager at Axuall, a venture-backed company in Cleveland, and is also the host of the Lay of The Land podcast which tells the stories of entrepreneurship in Cleveland.

At Axuall, Jeffrey and his team are focused on streamlining the sharing of verified digital credentials between clinicians and healthcare organizations to eliminate onboarding delays while empowering clinicians with ownership of their own data.

Prior to Axuall, Jeffrey was the first employee at Votem, working to restore and bolster trust, access, and transparency in elections with a core focus on developing secure and verifiable voting systems. Jeffrey is also an alumnus of Venture for America.

Camille Heard, Panelist
Camille Heard, Panelist

Camille Genise is the founder and ceo of FELOH [Fell-Oh], a conscious and inclusive social marketplace just for beauty. What makes the company unique is that when users post their beauty content in FELOH’s social community, FELOH gives them rewards called “curl coins” to shop in the marketplace (where independently owned beauty brands list their products to sell). She is also the director of events at Futureland and an entrepreneur in residence at JumpStart, Inc.

Jennah Lear, Panelist
Jennah Lear, Panelist

Jennah Lear is the owner, brand strategist and designer at Blue Loui Studio, a boutique branding studio for purpose-driven women in business focusing on success strategies, best branding, and creating a powerful presence.

Leopoldo Peña, Panelist

Leopoldo Peña is the co-founder and ceo of Presta where he leads product development. Leo’s previous experience has been centered around GovTech — most recently focused on expanding access to voting. He helped launch a mobile voting platform designed to securely cast votes in elections across the globe, allowing members of the US military to participate in general and midterm elections while serving abroad. Leo holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and is an alumnus of Venture for America.

Jackie Walsh, Panelist
Jackie Walsh, Panelist

Jackie Walsh is the founder and owner of Hope Yoga. At the studio, Jackie uses practices of yoga to help clients navigate the griefs they face in their day-to-day lives; learning to heal, grow and thrive in the community. Core values of the studio include inclusion/accessibility, community, empathy and continual improvement.

Mini-maker Hackathon

Students attending the 2023 thinkBIG! Summit will participate in our attendee favorite mini-maker hackathon led by the staff at Upcycle Parts Shop. After the keynote presentation, each table of students work as teams to craft physical representations of innovative ideas made from recycled materials and create a short 60-second pitch to describe the concept. Prototypes are brought to the front of the room for judging. Four finalist teams are chosen to pitch their ideas to audience members and panel of judges. Students from the winning team are awarded prizes.

Nicole - Upcycle