thinkBIG! SUMMIT

What Is The thinkBIG! Summit?

A unique, one-day conference featuring panels of national and local Gen Z and millennial entrepreneurs, mini maker hackathon sessions, Final Four Challenge team pitches, awards, prizes, networking and more! The Summit is open to all students, whether or not they compete in the Challenge.

Past keynote presentations focused on youth entrepreneurship have featured Shane Feldman, Founder & CEO of Count Me In, Ann Makosinski, Inventor, and Gerard Adams, Entrepreneur

The keynote presentation is followed by an 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 the 400 audience members for a chance to win a cash prize.  

The day also features a panel discussion featuring several young entrepreneurs who came to Cleveland from various cities in the U.S. to participate in the program. 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 $9,000 in prizes. Four finalists advance to present live on stage at the thinkBIG! Summit.

The day concludes on a high note with the challenge winners awarded $3,000 per team and Veale Innovation trophies. The day provides students opportunities to explore where journeys with an entrepreneurial mindset can lead them.

Educators may register their students for the thinkBIG! Summit directly through our website.

Emcee

Justin Lafazan

Next Gen Summit

Justin Lafazan is the Co-founder and CEO of Next Gen Summit, the premier community and conference for millennial entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 2014, Next Gen Summit has served as a vehicle to bring together the world’s most talented young entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and inspire each other, and give them the resources they need to be successful.

Justin is an experienced entrepreneur, consultant, speaker, investor, and best-selling author.


  • Dates: Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 8:30 am-2:30 pm
  • Location: Tinkham Veale University Center (CWRU)
  • Fee: No Charge

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