You could win $50,000 toward your BIG IDEA; info webinar planned for January 24

You Could Win $50,000 for your BIG IDEA!

Calling All Visionaries in Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Potter, and Tioga Counties, PA!

Are you a trailblazing entrepreneur with a game-changing idea in the maker economy, outdoors and recreation, forest products, manufacturing, or technology? Your innovation could be the spark that transforms industries and landscapes. Welcome to the Big Idea Contest: Where WILD Ideas Thrive!

As a finalist, you’ll dive into an exciting competition vying for not just a $2,500 People’s Choice Award but also the chance to win up to $50,000 in prize money. Picture yourself on the stage, pitching your BIG idea at the finale, surrounded by your cheering supporters—family and friends who can cast their votes to support your vision. It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase your innovation and potentially secure the resources to bring your idea to life. Don’t miss this incredible chance to make your mark and turn your dreams into reality!

Apply by Tuesday, April 18, 2024 at 


Why should you apply?

  • Ignite Your Innovation: Dive into a community of like-minded creators and thinkers, ready to amplify your BIG IDEA. 
  • Prize Money: The winner stands to receive up to $50,000 in cash – a vital resource to propel your BIG IDEA to new heights. 
  • Network & Pitch Experience: Beyond the cash prize, gain invaluable pitch experience, and business training, and forge connections that last a lifetime.

The winner will receive:

  • Up to $50,000 in cash
  • A chance to win an additional $2,500 in the People’s Choice Award
  • An opportunity to pitch the business concept for a $10,000 Seed Grant from Ben Franklin
  • A guaranteed spot in a business accelerator program offered by either Ben Franklin or Penn State’s LaunchBox network
  • Business mentoring and support by Ben Franklin’s Transformation Business Services Network


You qualify to apply if: 

  • Your business is located in Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Potter, or Tioga County, PA 
  • You have not previously received Ben Franklin funding or a cash prize from either a BIG IDEA Contest or a TechCelerator program
  • You plan to commercialize your innovation
  • You do not have more than $1,000,000 in annual sales revenue (as an established business)


2024 PA Wilds Big Idea Contest Informational Session

Get Insider Tips & Maximize Your Chances  

The PA Wilds region is thrilled to announce the launch of the highly anticipated Big Idea Contest 2024 with an Informational Webinar, slated to be held on January 24, 2024. This engaging and informative session aims to illuminate the path for aspiring entrepreneurs residing in Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Potter, and Tioga counties who are eager to turn their groundbreaking ideas into reality. Join us live and ask your most pressing questions.

Register for the Webinar:

Winning up to $50,000 will go a long way in helping you further develop your BIG IDEA and infuse your new startup with much-needed cash. In addition to the cash, the pitch experience you’ll gain, the business training offered, and the contacts you’ll make are just as valuable.


Visit for contest rules, FAQ, and to apply. 


Special thanks to our sponsors: The Appalachian Regional Commission, Northwest Bank, Penn State Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP), and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) of Clarion University, Gannon University, and Penn State.


About the BIG IDEA Contests: Since the start of the BIG IDEA contests, more than $3 million in cash prizes have been awarded throughout Ben Franklin’s 32-county footprint in central and northern Pennsylvania. The contest offers start-ups and entrepreneurs some much-needed seed funding, as well as business training, pitch experience, and industry contacts – often more valuable than the prize money itself. 


About Ben Franklin Technology Partners: The largest seed investor in our region, Ben Franklin Technology Partners (an initiative of the PA Department of Community & Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority) has been providing investment capital, business support services, and operational assistance to emerging tech-startups and small manufacturers for nearly 40 years. Learn more at   

For more information, contact Karly Scala at [email protected].



The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The PA Wilds Center promotes the region and its 2+ million acres of public lands as a premier outdoor recreation destination as a way to diversify local economies, inspire stewardship, attract investment, retain population and improve quality of life. The PA Wilds Center’s core programs seek to help businesses leverage the PA Wilds brand and connect with new market opportunities, including: the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a network of more than 575 place-based businesses and organizations, and the PA Wilds Conservation Shop, a retail outlet primarily featuring products sourced from the WCO. For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit To learn more about the WCO, visit Explore the PA Wilds at Find regionally made products at


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