MEADVILLE – Do you think you may have the next big idea but you could use some backing? 

The Zingdale Big Idea Competition at Allegheny College in Meadville has expanded to include residents of Crawford County seeking business funding.

The Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics at the college has introduced a new opportunity for area non-student residents to compete for $10,000 in cash prizes by presenting their ideas for a business or nonprofit based in Crawford County.

The competition emulates the experience seen on the television show “Shark Tank.” The competition, which takes place April 24 and 25, is also open to Allegheny students and visiting college students.

“When Allegheny President Hilary Link suggested we expand the Zingdale Big Idea Competition this year to include Crawford County residents, I was immediately excited by the idea and its potential for both the college and the community,” said Chris Allison, entrepreneur in residence in the college’s department of economics. “We think of the competition as ‘Shark Tank’ with a heart. Our judges not only evaluate competitors’ business plans but also provide them with constructive feedback, coaching and encouragement.”

Advance registration is required for the competition. Registration must be done no later than the day prior to the workshop. 

Three workshops are scheduled to help participants prepare. The workshops are open to Allegheny students and community members interested in participating in the Crawford County community track.

The workshops are scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 in the college’s Quigley Hall on:

Tuesday, Feb. 4, Developing Your Big Idea

Thursday, Feb. 20, Financial & Marketing Plans

Tuesday, Mar. 24, Pitching Your Idea

To register for the workshops or for more information, contact Sarah Holt, event co-coordinator, at sholt@allegheny.edu. Individuals who are unable to attend the workshops should contact Holt for more information about participating in the competition.

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