Think Big Kicks Feet Up after Gigabit Challenge Finale...Or Not

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It didn't seem like it could get any bigger after Think Big Partners announced the People's Choice Award, the $100,000 Grand Prize and the $250,000 Born Global Award at The Gigabit Challenge Finale.  But the truth of the matter is, last night's celebration was only the beginning for both the winners and for Think Big.

Sonia Lin of Kauzu may have said it best: "Winning this is really just the beginning.  There is now even more to accomplish." 

After being bombarded by various media outlets, fans and family/friends, the three winners of The Gigabit Challenge joined Think Big Partners and many attendees at an after party near Kansas City's Power and Light District.  There, everyone from Google engineers to TGC judges enjoyed networking, cocktails and celebration.

But it wasn't all fun and games.  After all, we are in the world of entrepreneurship.  Therefore, Finalists and the team of Think Big Partners were still on-the-clock networking with the right people and interviewing with big-time media outlets such as TechCrunch, the Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Business Journal.  

Although The Gigabit Challenge is now over, Think Big Partners is busier than ever.  What can we do for the entrepreneurs who didn't win?  How will we start working with SEIN Analytics and Asset Management to make their startup a big success?  When will Google Fiber come so we can start the high-speed Fiber craze?  Many questions still remain, but one thing is for sure: The Gigabit Challenge built awareness and buzz around Kansas City entrepreneurship and the coming of Google Fiber.  And because of it, more entrepreneurs are able to accomplish more of their dreams...and that's why Think Big Partners is around in the first place.

A huge thank you to our volunteers, judges, advisory board members, vendors, live bloggers, attendees and contestants!  The event would not have been possible without you.

Stay tuned for pictures, video and more posts about post-Gigabit Challenge happenings.  Click here for information about The Gigabit Challenge winners.  

Follow @GBChallengeKC

Follow @AllisonThinkBig

The Big Day is Almost Here!

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The big day is almost here!  The Gigabit Challenge Finale event is just two days away.  We are very excited to share this day with you.  We have put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make this day extra special for our Finalists, judges and of course, for YOU! 

Below are a few housekeeping items you may want to keep in mind while attending The Gigabit Challenge Finale on Wednesday, January 18th:


  • The Gigabit Challenge Finale will take place at the Kansas City Public Library (Plaza Branch) at 4801 Main Street in the Truman Forum Auditorium.  Click here for a map and directions.

  • Registration can be found in the library lobby.  Please check in with your printed ticket which can be downloaded from the link below.

  • T-shirts will be available for purchase throughout the day – bring extra cash if you’re interested (we think you might be!) 

  •  Come early and join us for a continental breakfast from 7:00 – 8:00 AM, courtesy of Pierpont’s.

  • We will break for lunch from 12:00 – 1:00 PM.  Please be prepared to provide your own lunch or check out local Kansas City restaurants nearby like The Mixx and Chipotle.

  • Be sure to follow The Gigabit Challenge at @GBChallengeKC and use #GBFinale during the event.  Click here to learn more about how The Gigabit Challenge is going social.

  • Our People’s Choice Award poll will take place throughout the day.  Be sure to check to cast your vote during the event or grab one of our voting sheets at the registration table.  Tell your friends too—they can even view The Gigabit Challenge Finale via live webcast!

  • For a complete schedule of the day’s events, please click here

We look forward to seeing you at The Gigabit Challenge Finale.  We’re expecting a lot of people, a lot of action and a lot of fun.  Come rested and ready to think big...with a gig!

Calling All Live Bloggers!

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There's a lot of buzz about Google Fiber out there.  From the latest tech blogs to Huffington Post articles, it seems as if everybody has Fiber fever and is breaking news about Google's latest high-speed initiative. 
Are you going to stay on top of your blog during this exciting time?  You should!  There is more news out there about Kansas City, broadband, Google Fiber and high-speed Internet than ever before--and it's time to publish it on your blog or website! 
In order to do so, we are inviting bloggers from across the nation to join us at The Gigabit Challenge Finale.  At the event, bloggers and writers with expertise in technology, Internet, Kansas City, entrepreneurship and business are invited to blog about their Finale experience and get up-close-and-personal with Gigabit Challenge judges, advisory board members and of course, contestants.  
Amp up your blog this year.  Join us for The Gigabit Challenge Finale and write about your Google Fiber experience.  To become a live blogger at The Gigabit Challenge Finale event, please contact Allison Way at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 816.842.5244.  To learn more about The Gigabit Challenge, please click here.

Hovey Williams LLP Alleviates IP Worry in The Gigabit Challenge

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There's something to be said about entrepreneurs who keep their business ideas under wraps during the first phases of development and launch.  Entrepreneurs who explore the world of intellectual property before they broadcast their business will have a leg up on any percolating competitors.  

But business plan competitions have to take intellectual property to a whole new level.  Because contestants are sharing their business ideas with advisory board members, organizers, judges, and the public (in a live pitch competition), many worry that their ideas could be swept under their feet.  But the entrepreneurs participating in The Gigabit Challenge do not have to worry about this--they've got Hovey Williams.

Hovey Williams LLP is a Kansas City-based law firm that specializes in patents, trademarks and all things IP.  Hovey Williams LLP has been preserving the unique ideas of inventors and creative minds alike for over 80 years.  As a specialized intellectual property law firm, Hovey Williams offers a full range of IP services including assistance with patents, trademarks, copyrights and IP litigation.

Which is exactly what many Gigabit Challenge contestants need!  As the Finalists take the stage on January 18th during The Gigabit Challenge Finale, they are going to want to have their intellectual property in line.  And this is exactly where Hovey Williams LLP can come into play.  A huge thanks to Hovey Williams for partnering for The Gigabit Challenge and donating their time and expertise to entrepreneurs in Kansas City and beyond!

Lathrop & Gage Partners Up for The Gigabit Challenge

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When Lathrop & Gage was founded in 1873, the Kansas City law firm was devoted to running a business based on honor, service, trust and value.  And even though it is a whopping 138+ years later, Lathrop & Gage seems to uphold these four pillars--and most noticeably, the service pillar.

Lathrop & Gage has been giving back to the Kansas City community since it first planted its roots over one hundred years ago.  Lathrop & Gage is dedicated to being active and responsible of their communities.  In fact, the L&G attorneys and staff often give their time and talents to numerous civic, charitable and professional organizations.  The law firm currently serves in many leadership roles including their membership in the Center for Entrepreneurs. 

But now Lathrop & Gage is getting involved with entrepreneurship even further.  The KC law firm recently became involved in The Gigabit Challenge, a worldwide business plan competition built to disrupt technology on the Google Fiber network. 

As a Partner in The Gigabit Challenge, Lathrop & Gage is helping to build Kansas City into The City of Entrepreneurs.  By getting involved with the Challenge, this law firm will get a first-hand look at some of the exploding entrepreneurs that have the chance at winning and making their startup dreams come true.

A huge thanks to Lathrop & Gage for getting involved in The Gigabit Challenge.  If you are interested in partnering, please contact Ann DeAngelo at 816-842-5244    

Experience Gigabit Speed: The Gigabit Challenge Finale Event

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With over 113 submissions, we knew we had to make The Gigabit Challenge Finale big.  After all, we're dealing with lightning-fast Internet speed, some of the most lucrative startup business plans and a panel of standout judges and advisory board members.  So we're opening the Gigabit Challenge Finale to the public this January at the Kansas City Public Library (Plaza Branch).

At the event, attendees will have the chance to watch live pitches from The Gigabit Challenge finalists, network with other entrepreneurs, investors and startup enthusiasts and sit in on the Awards Presentation.  This all-day event will not only bring in The Gigabit Challenge finalists, but also many of TGC's advisory board members and judging panel.

Join the team at Think Big Partners for The Gigabit Challenge Finale on January 18, 2012 from 8:00AM until 5:00PM (time subject to change) at the Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch (4801 Main Street). The Gigabit Challenge Finale is FREE.  

A huge thanks to the Kansas City Public Library for sponsoring The Gigabit Challenge Finale!

Register today and get your gig on!

Ready, Set...Gigabit!

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Coming up with the idea is the hard part. And for contestants participating in The Gigabit Challenge, that part is over. The worldwide business plan competition asked for executive summaries and business ideas last week. The ideas and submissions were plentiful. Over 110 entrepreneurs entered into The Gigabit Challenge with the hopes of winning the $100,000 startup prize and a chance to develop on the Google Fiber network.

And now, it's time for the full business plans to come in. The semi-finalists have just one week from today to submit business plans for their idea. What's the catch? We haven't announced semi-finalists yet! That means that entrepreneurs are encouraged to work on their business plans now regardless if they are a semi-finalist or not. Semi-finalists will be announced by December 6, 2011.

One week, participants! Get your startup brain fired up because it's time to think big...with a gig! Good luck to all participants.

Judge Not lest Ye Be Judged - Gigabit Google Challenge

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Google is rolling out it's experimental Gigabit Broadband FIber networks across the country in lab like experiments. One of the early locations is Kansas City and Think Big Partners, a local Incubator has sponsored a Business Plan competition worth 100,000K. The Gigabit Challenge.

I'm honored to be a part of the judging panel with some very esteemed folks from both local KC Enterprise like the Kauffman Foundation, and National players like Silicon Valley Bank.

Read More: Click Here

When Think Big Partners sat down...

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When Think Big Partners sat down to discuss The Gigabit Challenge for the first time, we expected the competition to be big...but we didn't expect it to be this big.  

Over 110 executive summaries and applications were submitted into The Gigabit Challenge, each one hoping to winning the $100,000 prize in cash and startup services.  And although only one entrepreneur will emerge as the winner, all 113 business plans displayed creativity, dedication and passion.  And isn't that what entrepreneurship is all about? 

But wasn't just the number of applications that impressed us.  More importantly, we were impressed with the caliber of submissions.  From impressive high-tech ideas to healthcare industry revelations, The Gigabit Challenge has become a repository for unique and innovative Google Fiber ideas.

So what's next?  Currently, The Gigabit Challenge judging panel has been issued all of the business plans that were submitted into the Challenge.  For the next six days, the judges will rank each executive summary based on market opportunity, growth and impact, brevity and clarity and Google connection.  A huge thanks for The Gigabit Challenge judges.  This business plan competition could not be possible without you!

Stay tuned for more announcements on The Gigabit Challenge.  Semi-finalists will be announced during the week of November 28th.

Follow me! @AllisonThinkBig