The Zingale Big Idea Competition

The Zingale Big Idea Competition focuses on seed-level new business ideas.  The Annual Competition will award a whopping total of $30,000 in prize money among the student winners. This contest emulates the experiences seen on the popular CNBC broadcast, Shark Tank, but with a heart. Unlike Shark Tank, the Zingale Big Idea distinguished panel of judges do more than evaluate business models – they offer constructive feedback, coaching and encouragement.

Interested in our our 2024 competition?

Allegheny College announces the 2024 Winners!

The next Big Idea Competition will be held on April 11-12, 2025

How can you participate?

Workshops are scheduled to help participants prepare for the competition. Those interested in competing in the Zingale Big Idea Competition and/or attend the workshops should contact Entrepreneur in Residence, Professor Chris Allison at

Please note: Up-and-running small businesses with revenue are not eligible for the competition.

To be eligible to compete in the Zingale Big Idea Competition, all contestants must submit an Executive Summary of a business plan to Chris Allison.  The Executive Summaries must include an overview of the company’s financials, including monthly operating costs, startup costs and at least a 1-year income statement.  A three year outlook is preferable.  A template for the Executive Summary can be found among the handy contest templates at the bottom of this page.

 Workshop  Slides

  1. Download Week #1 Slides: Finding A Relevant Problem to Solve
  2. Download Week #2 Slides: Creating A Big Idea To Solve The Problem
  3. Download Week #3 Slides:  Marketing Your Big Idea
  4. Download Week #4 Slides:  Developing Your Big Idea’s Financial Plan
  5. Download Week #5 Slides:  The Pitch

Working with your team, you’ll develop a presentation using the 10-20-30 Rule; that is, you’ll prepare 10 Powerpoint slides for a pitch that is 20 minutes long, using text no smaller than 30-point type on each slide. Here are the templates that you will need to complete prior to your presentation:

Zingale Big Idea Competition ’20 – 1 Year Financial Plan Template
Zingale Big Idea Competition ’20 – 3 Year Financial Plan Template 
Zingale Big Idea Competition ’20 – Annual Revenue Worksheet
Zingale Big Idea Competition ’20 – Monthly Expense Worksheet
Zingale Big Idea Competition ’20 – Startup Cost Estimator
Zingale Big Idea Competition ’20 – Presentation Template

The Zingale Big Idea Competition has been made possible through the generous support of Lance & Karen Zingale.

What kind of ideas have won in the past? Check out the results of previous competitions:

2023 Competitor Profiles | Meet the 2023 Judges | 2023 Finalists

Here are the results of our 2022 competition!| Meet the judges | 2022 Photo Album

2021 Big Idea Winners | 2021 Judges

The 2020 competition was cancelled due to Covid 19.

Follow this link to see the 2019 Big Ideas, Winners & Judges

Meet the 2018 Big Idea Judges | Read about the 2018 Winners | View photos from 2018 competition