The BIG Idea Pitch 2019 Winner – Troy Smith, The Layman Bench

Personal Trainer Troy Smith saw a need to make bicep and tricep training more fun. After doing much research, Smith created an innovative and new fitness machine that allows users to increase the safety and efficacy of free weight training exercises commonly performed within gym facilities worldwide. He named this machine, The Layman Bench.

How did the name ‘The Layman Bench’ come about?

The Layman Bench provides assistance for triceps training comparable to how the Preacher bench does for biceps training. Within the context of a church, preachers preach to the parishioners (or ‘layman.’),

“I wanted to pay homage to the bodybuilding and fitness industry by naming the bench the Layman Bench.” Says Smith. “Layman and preachers are intimately related yet opposites in nature, like how the biceps and the triceps are intimately interconnected opposites in nature. It’s also a play on words since you lie down while performing triceps exercises on the Layman.”

With any new idea, Troy discovered a few struggles with the patent design of his new machine. As production time took longer than anticipated, Smith found it difficult to file the needed patents making the process of getting the bench ready to market rather tricky.

After working out the struggles he found with production and patenting the Layman Bench, Troy became partners with a fabrication shop out of Naperville, Illinois. The final product version of the Layman Bench started the process of field-testing on September 1st, 2020.

After placing fourth in the Innovation Connector’s BIG Idea Pitch Competition, Troy was encouraged to pitch at the Purdue Big Sell pitch competition, where he placed first and won $10,000!


You can contact Trainer Troy Smith by email:


The BIG Idea Pitch Competition is open to all age groups in Delaware County and surrounding counties. You can learn more about the BIG Idea Pitch and sign up for the first training camp of the 2020 season by clicking here.

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

By Alexis Dishman—

Muncie, IN—The Innovation Connector of Muncie, Indiana, is hosting the seventh 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 Pitchcompetition 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 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. The Final Competition will also be held at the Innovation Connector starting at 6:00 pm. The BIG Idea Pitch Competition Application Forms will be available online Monday, October 19th.


Training Camp #1 – Monday, October 19th

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 26th

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?

FINAL COMPETITION – Monday, November 2nd

This is THE night! All competitors will only have three minutes to pitch in front of a panel of judges. The top five winners will be selected, and the judges will announce the 1st– 5thplace winners of The BIG Idea Pitch 2020 competition.

ADVANCE Cohort – January 2021

All final winners will be awarded a seat in the Innovation Connector’s program cohort – ADVANCE. Each individual will complete this 4-month intensive business development commitment that includes focused one-on-one coaching, consultation with business professionals, access to workshops and events, and so much more. The ADVANCE cohort is a $1,500 value that each winner will be awarded at no cost! More information on ADVANCE can be found by going to

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 2020 is presented by the Innovation Connector and made possible by our partners: First Merchant’s Bank, Whitinger Strategic Services, Whitinger & Company, Deltec Solutions, R&R Engineering, Action Technologies Group, and Shafer Leadership Academy.


Register for the BIG Idea Pitch Training Camp #1 by Clicking Here