Big Rowdy Idea

What’s your Big Rowdy Idea?

2021 Applications for Big Rowdy Idea are now open

Register your team today!
  • August 23: Applications Open
  • September 19: Applications Deadline
  • October 6: Kick-Off Elevator Pitch
  • October 9 – October 31: Customer Discovery and Business Model Development
  • October 23: Entrepreneurship Bootcamp
  • November 1: 2nd Round Pitches – Top 5 will proceed to the Final Round
  • December 2: Final Round Pitches – Finalists will pitch for the top prize

A Business Plan Competition Open to All UTSA Students


The Big Rowdy Idea (BRI) is used to teach the Lean Startup Methodology to budding entrepreneurs and prepare participants to launch scalable entrepreneurial ventures while simultaneously pursuing their degree program or working at UTSA. The BRI competition takes place each fall semester.

Why should you compete?

  1. Show your talent and connect with San Antonio employers, investors and seasoned entrepreneurs in a setting that puts you and your skills in the spotlight
  2. Build your resume and stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs
  3. Challenge yourself and gain key transferable skills that can be applied in any job
  4. Test your ideas and business model in a risk-free environment and get valuable feedback from judges and mentors on key aspects of your business
  5. Gain access to mentors and networking opportunities to either raise funds for your startup or land a new job
  6. Last but not least, win $$$ and access to resources

Past Winners

T4 Movement, 1st Place
First Watch, 2nd Place
Prestige Worldwide, 2nd Place
HelioSucrose, 3rd Place 
Learn more about the winning teams

MECM Medical, 1st Place
Panic Relief, 2nd Place
Not Only Chicken B2B, 3rd Place 

Novothelium, 1st place
STEMpak, 2nd place
Smart Road Sensors & Face Inc., 3rd place 

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Open to all UTSA students (undergraduates, graduates, doctoral) of any major, postdocs, staff and faculty.
Team Formation Maximum of 6 members. Interdisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.
Nature of Idea/Venture The business submissions must be the team’s original work and ideas.
Any type of project/idea is acceptable as long as it is scalable. 1 (no hobbies, please)
However, buyouts, expansion of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, or spinouts from an existing corporation are  NOT acceptable. Previous years competitors are NOT allowed to participate with the same or similar idea again.
Investment and Revenue Companies who have received more than $100K of investment/grant (from any source) prior to the current academic year are  NOT eligible to compete.
Competing teams/companies should not receive any revenue prior to the current academic year.
1 A scalable business model is a business that sees increasing returns as it invests more in capital, labor and services. This generally means that unit costs decline as your business expands. Scalability is what makes a business, in the simplest terms, big, and which typically means greater revenue streams; combine this with efficiencies created by economies of scale, and therefore lower costs, and you have a recipe for a profitable business with strong growth potential. 


1st Place $8,000 Cash
In-Kind Services* 2
2nd Place $3,000 Cash & In-Kind Services* 2
3rd Place $1,500 Cash & In-Kind Services* 2

Note: Projects that are technology enabled will qualify for an award of up to $2,000 for prototype/proof of concept expenses related to their project. Condition for the award: satisfactory completion of all required deliverables to pitch at the Second Round and 3 minute pitch delivered. More details about the award will be provided at the kickoff meeting.

* 2 Services to help start your scalable new venture. A complete list of services will be provided at the Final Round.

Judging Criteria

1st Round – Elevator Pitch: In order to continue to the 2nd Round, a team must submit the Big Rowdy Idea application and the Big Idea Canvas on time, and make the 30 seconds elevator pitch at the Kick-Off Event.
2nd and Final Round: Each of the elements below will be scored on a 10-point scale by judges independently. Those scores will be tallied and compiled for a total possible score of 90 points per team. Teams will then be ranked according to the aggregate score.

  1. How well did the team identify the assumptions crucial to their business?
  2. How well did they design and carry out their tests? (test with customers and/or partners)
  3. How well did the team take action based on the results of the test? (pivot, retest assumptions, etc.)
  4. Did they arrive at a viable business model?
  5. How unique is their value proposition and have they identified barriers to entry? (Who are your competitors? How are you different? What tests show that customers would prefer your solution?)
  6. Is the team solving a significant problem (defined in terms of money or impact)?
  7. Does the team/company have a proof of concept/prototype built?
  8. Does the team have significant evidence that the solution is validated (includes letters of intent, purchase contracts, sales, and partners)?
  9. Does the team have a feasible plan to get to an investable proof of concept?

Click here to fill out the Application Form (log in using your UTSA Credentials) and download the Big Idea Business Model Canvas that will help you develop your Big Idea Hypothesis. After you submit your application, please send an electronic copy of your completed “Big Idea Canvas” (both pages) to Your submission won’t be considered “complete” until we receive your canvas. You will receive a confirmation email when your canvas and application have been received by the CITE Administration Team.

Don’t have an idea but want to be part of a project? Teams are always looking for passionate entrepreneurs with any background to form a diverse and interdisciplinary team that can increase their chances of succeeding. Please fill out this form and we will connect you with teams that are looking for people like you.

If you have any questions or problems submitting your application, please contact Randy at or at 412-398-1784.