The Big Gig is a new program brought about by a joint partnership between the towns of Old Town and Orono, the University of Maine and Husson University. It’s designed to help bring together people of an entrepreneurial bent and allow them networking opportunities. There’s also the chance of a little bit of prize money, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Basically, the Big Gig is a series of live idea pitching events, the first of which will take place at Verve in downtown Orono on October 22; others will follow on December 10 (at Kosta’s in downtown Old Town) and February 11 (at the Dyke Center for Family Business on the Husson University campus), with the finale on April 8 at the Foster Center for Student Innovation at the University of Maine. All events kick off at 5:30 PM.
The basic gist is simple: three pitchers will make their case to an audience. Each pitch is limited to three minutes; there will be no PowerPoint presentations, no handouts – just you and your idea.
Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, was one of the key players behind the creation of Big Gig.
“The original idea was to create a networking event just for innovators and entrepreneurs connecting them along with folks who can help them reach their goals,” Moriarity said. “We added the ‘pitch-off’ as a fun way to get everyone involved in the event – think Business After Hours meets Story Slam.
“We had a bunch of potential pitchers sign up ahead of time; after going through some intense pitch coaching from folks at UMaine and the Maine Angels, three were selected to pitch the night of the event.”
(Note: while the October event’s pitchers are set, you can still throw your pitch in the ring for the next two Big Gig events. Visit their website at biggig.org for more details; sign-ups will re-open after the event on October 22.)
Each evening will see one of the three pitchers selected to advance to the final event to be held at the Innovation Center. The selected pitch will receive a cash prize, with a chance to earn a larger check at the finale.
“There will be a panel of local bigwigs on hand to give [the pitchers] feedback on their business or non-profit idea,” Moriarity said. “But ultimately the audience decides who gets the $100 cash prize and a chance to win $1,000 at the finale in April.”
Moriarity went on to add that the potential benefits stretch far beyond the money. Big Gig provides an opportunity for a marketing push, as well as a chance to network and get people excited about an idea. And they very much want to hear your ideas.
“We are looking for anyone and everyone – start-ups, existing businesses, non-profits – it doesn’t matter,” said Moriarity.
Big Gig kicks off with its first pitch-off this month, but there are plenty more to come. So if you’ve got a big idea and could use some big advice or a little fine-tuning, visit their website at biggig.org to find out more.
It could be the start of something big.