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Applications open for second annual BIG Pitch Competition

Undergraduate and graduate collegiate innovators who have creative and sustainable solutions are invited to submit their ideas for the second annual BIG Pitch Competition, hosted by Ocean Exchange and Georgia Southern University’s Business Innovation Group.

This year’s BIG Pitch Competition focuses on sustainability and invites individuals or teams to submit solutions and innovations that improve economies, health and the environment for the chance to win a $10,000 cash prize. Applications are now open, and applicants are encouraged to apply early. The deadline is Sept. 30.

Eight finalists will be invited to present their ideas and solutions at Ocean Exchange Nov. 11 in front of 150 delegates representing businesses, NGOs, academia and government. Delegates will vote on who receives the cash award.

“The board and team at Ocean Exchange are excited for year two of the BIG Pitch Competition,” said Ocean Exchange CEO, Millicent Pitts. “Last year exceeded our expectations in the quality of the solutions that applied. Our delegates at the Ocean Exchange event were gratified to see young adults so engaged in sustainability innovations and entrepreneurship, both cornerstones of our existing Gulfstream® Navigator and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Orcelle® Awards. Frankly, I see BIG Pitch as a pipeline to bring solutions into our greater awards process as those collegiate innovations mature in one-five years.”

Last year’s competition drew nearly 30 collegiate team applicants from around the country, Canada and India. Opus 12 from Stanford University was selected as the winner for its sustainable innovation, “Renewable Fuel Production from Carbon Dioxide,” which uses technology developed at Stanford University to take carbon dioxide and convert it into usable fuel, ethanol that can then be used by oil refineries and corn ethanol plants.

“BIG Pitch is quickly becoming one of the premiere platforms for college students to showcase their innovative concepts,” said Business Innovation Group Director Dominique Halaby, D.P.A. “Teams are coming from across the globe for the exposure that comes from presenting in front of such an esteemed delegation.”

Since winning the competition, Opus 12 has won grants from the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Science Foundation (NSF), and also won DOE’s 2015 Transformational Idea Award among several other awards. Nicholas Flanders, the co-founder and CEO of Opus 12 was also featured among Forbes’ 30 under 30 for energy. Opus 12 was also selected by Shell GameChanger to receive funding for an initial feasibility study.

BIG Pitch is part of the Business Innovation Group, in Georgia Southern University’s College of Business Administration. For more information about the competition and to apply, please

Ocean Exchange is an international non-profit with the mission of helping advance the adoption of transformative solutions that support sustainability. Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics are worldwide sponsors.


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