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PA Wilds Big Idea Contest


Contest Closed: Register for the 2023 PA Wilds $50K BIG IDEA Contest Finale Event


Big Ideas Grow in WILD Places!

In partnership with the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Ben Franklin Technology Partners is looking for innovators with BIG IDEAS located in Cameron, Elk, Forest, McKean, or Warren County, PA.


We’re looking for entrepreneurs who are developing or crafting a product, process or innovation related to the maker economy, outdoors and recreation, forest products, manufacturing and technology. If this sounds like you, don’t hesitate to apply.

Apply by Monday, April 24, 2023 at 5 p.m.

The winner will receive:

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

  • Your business is located in Cameron, Elk, Forest, McKean, or Warren 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)

Contest Rules & Regulations

  • Application Rules

Contest FAQs

Special thanks to our sponsors:

As part of a three-year initiative funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, this is the second of three annual BIG IDEA Contests in collaboration with PA Wilds, focusing on counties in the Allegheny National Forest landscape of the 13-county region. The 2024 contest will accept applications from counties in the Dark Skies and Pine Creek Valley landscapes of PA Wilds.