Win up to $50,000 in the Ben Franklin BIG IDEA Contest

Entrepreneurs, tech innovators and small manufacturers can apply by Aug. 23

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ben Franklin Technology Partners, an award-winning, tech-based economic development program, is offering emerging entrepreneurs, tech innovators and small manufacturers developing new products, processes or software applications the chance to win up to $50,000 by competing in the BIG IDEA Contest

Applications are open now until 5 p.m. on Aug. 23. 

Other prizes and awards include consultation on accessing federal research and development grant money from the Innovation Partnership, passes to seminars offered by Ben Franklin’s eMarketing Learning Center, priority access to a seat in Ben Franklin’s Startup Bootcamp or the Harrisburg LaunchBox’s Idea TestLab, and a $2,500 “Peoples’ Choice” Award. 

Nearly $2 million in cash prizes have been awarded throughout the program’s 32-county footprint in central and northern Pennsylvania since the contest’s founding. In addition to infusing startups with much-needed cash, the BIG IDEA Contest provides important pitch experience, training and networking opportunities with key industry contacts. 

Those eligible to apply must be located in one of the 32 counties in Ben Franklin’s central and northern footprint and have not previously received Ben Franklin funding, won a regional BIG IDEA contest, or a TechCelerator cash prize. Eligible applicants must also plan to commercialize their “big idea” and create a for-profit company, as well as not currently have more than $500,000 in sales revenue. 

To view Penn State-affiliated startups, visit To view Penn State technologies in development, visit

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners 

The largest early-stage investor in the region, Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP (an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority), provides investment capital, operational assistance, BIG IDEA contests, and TechCelerator Startup Bootcamps to emerging tech-based companies and small, existing manufacturers to create and retain jobs in Pennsylvania. Visit Ben Franklin’s website or call the Harrisburg office at 717-948-6339.

Last Updated May 27, 2021