Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why The Gigabit Challenge? Think Big Partners Answers

There has been plenty of buzz going around about The Gigabit Challenge.  But with advisory board members like Vint Cerf of Google and Dan'l Lewin of Microsoft, judges like Jeff Chambers of Alterra Bank and Michael Gale of Gramercy Private Equity, a $100,000 startup prize and an open application to all entrepreneurs, what's not to love about The Gigabit Challenge?

We could go on and on about the benefits of applying for The Gigabit Challenge.  But when it all comes down to it, why did we create The Gigabit Challenge in the first place?  What's the story here behind Think Big Partners and The Gigabit Challenge?

To be blunt, there isn't much of a story.  It started with a team of seven Think Big Partners members sitting down at a conference table at the bizperc coworking space.  It seemed like it would be a typical Think Big meeting; colorful Play-Doh was being formed into shapes, Herb Sih was talking a million miles a minute, and the team was scribbling notes in their black notebooks.

But then Google Fiber was brought up.  And the ideas came pouring in.

"How can we, as an organization, take action?"
"How can we involve the entire Kansas City community?"
"How can we foster more innovation with Google Fiber?"
"How can we create more jobs in and around Kansas City?"
"What can we do to help entrepreneurs launch their startup businesses?"

The answer seemed simple; a new business plan competition focused around Google Fiber.  Forty-eight hours later, the first press release went live.

Think Big Partners, first and foremost, kept the entire Kansas City community in mind.  As a team, we wanted to create an opportunity for anyone to get up-close-and-personal with Google Fiber--that's exactly why anybody (or, at least anybody with an idea) can apply for the chance to win $100,000 and work on the Google Fiber network.  We wanted to involve neighbors, friends, family members, strategic partners, competitors, small businesses, entrepreneurs, new startups, high-growth companies, and community leaders in order to foster a community-feel for The Gigabit Challenge.  Anyone is welcome to become a part of it--that's the beauty of our community-driven business plan competition.

Secondly, The Gigabit Challenge exists because we want new innovation to exist as well.  The goal of The Gigabit Challenge is not only to provide entrepreneurs with prizes geared toward launch and success, but to foster more innovation around the Kansas City area.  The Wall Street Journal has also defined us as an IT hub, Entrepreneurs Unpluggd has named us one of the top Entrepreneurial Cities and Forbes has claimed KC as one of the best downtowns in the America.  It's time to embrace these titles.  It's time for the innovation to roll in.

Finally, Think Big Partners wanted to take action...and quick.  With the announcement of Google Fiber coming to Kansas City early in the year, something needed to be done in order to generate Fiber fever.  The Gigabit Challenge was named one of the first Google Fiber initiatives in Kansas City.  And in our opinion, it is also one of the strongest.

So now it's our turn to ask you, entrepreneurs.  Why The Gigabit Challenge?  Why are you putting your best ideas forward this fall and applying for TGC?  There's no time like the present...and the prizes aren't too shabby either.

Think Big with a gig.  Apply today.

Follow me! @AllisonThinkBig

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