Innovation contest with $10k prize on March 21

The region’s top innovators will compete for a $10,000 prize offered by billionaire philanthropist and entrepreneur Todd Wagner during an event at Bellarmine University on Friday, March 21, 2014.

The competition, dubbed The Search for the Next Big Thing, will be limited to 100 participants, who will present and discuss their ideas with high-profile entrepreneurs and potential investors during the Friday event and at an Innovation Mixer held the prior evening.

The competition is sponsored by the Todd Wagner Foundation, Bellarmine University’s schools of business and communication, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Louisville Metro Department of Economic Growth and Innovation. The entry fee is $199, with proceeds benefitting the Meade Activity Center, a planned wellness and community center in Brandenburg, Ky. Registrants will receive two tickets to the Friday innovation competition and two tickets to attend the Innovation Mixer with local business leaders.

Innovators can apply for the competition online at

On the morning of March 21, participants will showcase their innovations at tables throughout Bellarmine’s Frazier Hall. Judges will select the top five innovators, who will present their ideas that afternoon as they compete for the $10,000 prize.

The judges include Wagner, Kentucky Economic Development secretary Larry Hayes, Louisville Economic Growth and Innovation chief Ted Smith, CompaniesWood principal Phoebe Wood, Commonwealth Leverage Group founding partner John Reinhart and Signature Healthcare chief development officer Rich Tinsley. A list of preliminary round judges is available on the competition’s website.

Wagner and Mark Cuban, which Yahoo! purchased in 1999 in a deal valued at $5.7 billion. His most recent project is the January 2014 launch of, where celebrities and fans network to raise money for charitable causes. Wagner also partners with Cuban on several entertainment ventures, including Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres and AXS TV. He has led the Todd Wagner Foundation for more than a decade.

Media Contacts:

Leigh Margaret Stull, 502/693-6625

Jason Cissell, 502/718-6512


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