Welcome to The Gigabit Challenge, a global business plan competition to find disruptive ideas that will turn the tech industry upside-down and change the world.

The Gigabit Challenge is focused on unique applications that are enabled by Google's first-in-the-nation 1 Gigabit Fiber network. It is a business plan competition looking for the brightest, hungriest and most passionate entrepreneur superstars who are looking to think big...with a gig.

Individuals, teams or businesses with an idea, a complete business plan, or an early-stage operating business are invited to enter for the chance to work on the first-in-the-nation Google Fiber network and a prize valued at $100,000. We hope that you will use the opportunity provided by the Google Fiber network to not only develop next-generation businesses, but to help establish an ecosystem that will cause innovation and disruptive technologies to surge throughout Kansas City and the world.

The Gigabit Challenge Advisory Board members are:

  • Erik Brynjolfsson -  Professor of Management, MIT & Director, MIT Center for Digital Business
  • Vint Cerf - Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
  • Robert Gunderson - Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Gunderson Dettmer
  • Harry Kellogg - Vice-Chairman, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Philip Korn - Relationship Manager and Managing Director, First Republic Bank
  • Dan'l Lewin - Corporate Vice President of Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft
  • Robert Marcusse - President & Chief Executive Officer, Kansas City Area Development Council
  • Scott Mize - Advisor to Think Big Partners and The Gigabit Challenge (Chairman)
  • Keith Molzer - President & CEO, Balance Innovations
  • Rex Northern - Executive Director, Cleantech Open
  • Mark Radcliffe - Partner, DLA Piper
  • Mario Rosati - Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati
  • Angela Tower - Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Kenny Wilk - Member, Kansas Board of Regents

Evidence of a perfect storm? Why the Gigabit Challenge is important for the Silicon Prairie

There's an old adage that the best way to describe a job you love is that you would do it for free. I'm fortunate enough in my role in Microsoft that I've been able to experience that opportunity by working and meeting with investors, entrepreneurs and startups from all walks of life and from all over the world. It's afforded me the chance to develop a perspective – often one that is at odds with conventional wisdom about where the action is. This is an occasional series where I'll share that perspective with Silicon Prairie News readers.

If we look at Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas there is something special occurring. There's an active culture of entrepreneurship that is curated by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. There’s a robust community of incubators and co-working spaces with the likes of PipelineNebraska GlobalThink Big Partners and Bizperc. Finally, there's a robust local community and technology press with events like Big OmahaThinc Iowa and Silicon Prairie News.

Read More: Click Here

Re-live The Gigabit Challenge Finale

Did you miss parts of the Gigabit Challenge?  Catch any of the presentations you might have missed right here on GigabitChallenge.com.

Click Here to start watching.

Think Big Partners Announces Think Big Nation, Conference Updates, New Coworking Space, Accelerator Class and Investment Model

Think Big Partners announced the launch of Think Big Nation on Wednesday night at The Gigabit ChallengeFinale in Kansas City. Herb Sih, co-founder of Think Big Partners, declared Think Big Nation to be the umbrella that will encapsulate the recent efforts of Think Big Partners and its network partners that will challenge the way entrepreneurship works and how successful startups are formed. In addition, Sih revealed four other Think Big Partners announcements including the expansion of the Think Big Conference, the creation of a second Kansas City coworking space, the development of Think Big’s first accelerator class and the beginning of investment in early-stage startups.

Think Big Nation

Think Big Partners announced the launch of Think Big Nation and its effort to fundamentally change the way entrepreneurship works, how successful startups are formed and how ideas are turned into profitable companies. Think Big Nation will be the overarching “not only for profit” model that creates more successful startups everywhere with Think Big Nation Network Partners.

“We are excited to launch Think Big Nation and create a nationwide network that connects entrepreneurs, ideas, innovation, opportunities, services and capital,” said Think Big Partners co-founder Herb Sih. “We will continue to build out our Think Big Network Partner platform by finding the best partners possible nationwide.”    

Think Big Conference

Think Big Partners also announced the expansion of the annual Think Big Conference. Think Big Conferences are premier events for entrepreneurs, investors and startups and can be hosted in any city. The 2012 Think Big Conference lineup includes Kansas City, Baltimore and Memphis with more coming soon. For more information about the Think Big Conference or to host the conference in your city, please click here.

The third annual Think Big Kansas City conference will take place in the fall of 2012 in partnership with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The partnership between the two will allow Kansas City entrepreneurs, investors and startups to have access to even more inspirational speakers, business presenters and networking opportunities.    

KCCowork

In order to facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship in Kansas City, Think Big Partners and Five Elms Capital will launch a second coworking space in the fall of 2012 in Prairie Village, Kansas. The coworking space is called KCCowork and will be the first Think Big Network Provider in the Think Big Nation Network alongside its downtown KC coworking neighbor, bizperc.

First Accelerator Class

Think Big Partners also announced the creation of its first accelerator class. This spring, Think Big Partners will select candidates from The Gigabit Challenge contestants and other startups in the Midwest to participate in its first class. The companies chosen for the accelerator class will receive one-on-one mentoring and pitch coaching from Think Big Partners that will prepare them for the Flyover Fieldtrip, a trip to Silicon Valley to meet with Bay-area investors and funders.

Investment

Lastly, Think Big Partners announced that they will begin investing in technology-focused, early-stage startups. The model has been put in place to better facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship in the Midwest and across the country and to make capital more accessible to entrepreneurs involved in Think Big initiatives.

About Think Big Partners:

Think Big Partners is a technology-focused, early-stage startup accelerator and mentorship-based collaborative network located in Kansas City, Missouri. Think Big Partners has successfully launched and grown over 100 successful companies with its creation of coworking spaces, entrepreneurial conferences, essential services, startup resources and funding. To learn more about Think Big Partners, please call (816) 842-5244 or visithttp://www.thinkbigpartners.com.