Innovation Connector to Host the 6th Annual BIG Idea Pitch Competition for Local Entrepreneurs

By: Alexis Dishman—

Photo provided by: The Innovation Connector

Muncie, IN – The Innovation Connector of Muncie, Indiana is hosting the sixth annual BIG Idea Pitch competition for local entrepreneurs and innovators to “pitch” their business, business concepts, product or invention to a panel of judges from the business and investment community. There are many very creative and interesting concepts from people in our region, and this competition will showcase those ideas and offer what it takes to advance them. This event is for individuals in all phases of business, including startup or pre-startup. Jr High and High School students, as well as college students, are also encouraged to apply.


The BIG Idea Pitch competition is your chance to prove the potential of your business idea, meet people who can help you succeed, and maybe even win a cash prize! Competitors will have just three minutes to pitch before a panel of judges.


The schedule of events is as follows:


Each Training Camp will be held at the Innovation Connector from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The BIG Idea Pitch Competition Application Forms will be available on-line Monday, October 21st.



Training Camp #1 – Monday, October 21st

What is the BIG Idea Pitch Competition? How do ideas happen? Forming an idea as a business

or product. What is the problem being solved? What is the opportunity being seized? From ideas to solutions – how to solve problems. Does your solution fully solve the problem/opportunity?


Training Camp #2 – Monday, October 28th

Are there revenue streams and profit potential for this solution? Who else is currently solving the problem? How are others solving this problem? Why is your solution better or different? What value does your solution provide? How do I present and pitch? What is the judging criteria?


SEMI-FINALS COMPETITION – Monday, November 4th  

All competitors will pitch to a panel of judges. Five finalists will be selected to compete in the Finals to claim the place of The BIG Idea Pitch Winner 2019.




The BIG Idea Pitch Finals & Excellence in Innovation Awards – Wednesday, November 13th  

The Final Competition will take place at the Excellence in Innovation Awards Event held at the Horizon Convention Center.  Attendees will be able to see and hear the five finalists from The BIG Idea Pitch competition – three minutes to pitch business ideas to a panel of distinguished judges. The final results will be revealed that night with prize packages of nearly $30,000 in cash and services awarded.


All competitors will receive invaluable feedback, a fun experience, and valuable exposure to business leaders & potential mentors.  For more details or to make a submission, go to and click The BIG Idea Pitch link or contact Alexis Dishman at 765-285-4900.


The BIG Idea Pitch 2019 and the Excellence in Innovation Awards are presented by the Innovation Connector and made possible by our partners: First Merchant’s Bank, Ball State University, Ontario Systems, Ivy Tech Community College, Mutual Bank, Whitinger Strategic Services, Whitinger & Company, and The Thompson Group.

Introducing the Capstone Connector

A BSU bus driver is pictured utilizing a new digital tracking system developed by a Capstone Connector team of students. On the left, the driver is holding a blue tablet that utilized an older manual paper entry method. Photo courtesy of Huseyin Ergin

A BSU bus driver is pictured utilizing a new digital tracking system developed by a Capstone Connector team of students. On the left, the driver is holding a blue tablet that utilized an older manual paper entry method. Photo courtesy of Huseyin Ergin

By: Ted Baker—

Muncie, IN—The Innovation Connector is pleased to announce the formation of the new Capstone Connector initiative. While serving as the start-up technology hub for the greater Muncie community, the Innovation Connector recognized the opportunity to connect college students to local businesses and organizations to match technology talent with existing business software technology needs. For most college majors, students must complete a final course that is a culmination of their course work called a capstone course. “There has been a disconnect with local university and college computer science talent and the Muncie community,” states Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector.  “I have had numerous area businesses ask me about connecting with student talent, but that path is not always easy. By partnering with Dr. Huseyin Ergin, a Ball State University computer science instructor, we will help bridge this gap.”

The Capstone Connector exists for one reason: to connect local community partners with university/college student capstone teams to solve partners’ technological problems by building custom software. It is open to any company, startup, a non-profit organization, faculty member, or individual. The Capstone Connector is industry-agnostic and will serve any industry as long as a computer application is needed.

Capstone Connector aims for the collaboration to be beneficial for all stakeholders. Benefits include:

  • The capstone teams benefit from working with a real partner.
  • The community partners benefit from having their technological ideas turning into software products.
  • The community has a chance to keep its bright talents to itself.
  • The students have a chance to be hired immediately – keeping talent local.

How does Capstone Connector work?

  1. Community partners propose a project to the center.
  2. Director of Capstone Connector analyzes the project. The Director will work with the client to determine fit for the program and if changes are necessary.
  3. Capstone Connector assigns a student development team to the community partner.
  4. Community partner and student development teams work together by meeting at least once a month. At every meeting, student teams are responsible for creating and demonstrating a running software to their community partners.

“Capstone Connector doesn’t have strict requirements for the proposed projects,” said Dr. Huseyin ErginDirector of Capstone Connector. “The only thing you need to be aware of is that we don’t build business card-like static web pages. There are hundreds of online services that do this for no or low cost. We are developing custom software for your custom needs. It might be a full-stack application, a library, a mobile application, a web application, or any other software development. The community partner is free to select its technology stack for the projects. If not, the director and the team will choose the most suitable stack for the partner.”

A Success Story:

An example of a recent project was for the BSU Bus Shuttle system. The capstone team built a web application software to replace the paper-based bus statistics collection of the Transportation Services. The supervisor can now track how many people get on the bus or left at the stop more accurately, easily, and with fewer errors. The application is designed to work with inconsistent internet connections and not lose any data. (See photo above.)

Cost of the projects:

The accepted projects do not have any development costs billed to the partner. However, there may be some fees for the expenses of the student teams used to cover the partner-student team meeting expenses (such as traveling) and any software licensing or cloud costs throughout the development.

Contact Capstone Connector:

The Capstone Connector also can provide a solution for keeping the projects running after the student development team graduates. Capstone Connector also respects your intellectual property. Just contact us to discuss your specific situation or to propose a project.

Dr. Huseyin ErginDirector of Capstone
Ted BakerExecutive Director of Innovation,

Direct Office Contact Number: 765-285-4902