Press Release
May 22, 2023

Innovation DuPage Celebrates Winners of the Sixth Annual Big Idea Pitch Competition

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Innovation DuPage is delighted to announce the successful conclusion of the sixth annual Big Idea Pitch Competition.  With support from the DuPage Foundation and the Perma-Seal Fund of the DuPage Foundation, this prestigious event provided local high schools and colleges with a unique opportunity to develop innovative business ideas and pitch them to a panel of esteemed judges.

This year's competition received an overwhelming response, with more than 40 applications pouring in from aspiring entrepreneurs throughout DuPage County. After a rigorous evaluation process, eight outstanding student-led businesses were selected as finalists to present live at the College of DuPage on May 10th. Innovation DuPage staff and member companies of Innovation DuPage provided invaluable feedback and pitch development assistance to all the finalists.

The winners of the Big Idea Pitch Competition:

First Place: Aaliya Khaja & Miftha Syed, Elmhurst University - is an app for colleges and universities that uses geolocation on existing smartphones to help drivers find open parking spots on campus and solves the “universal” problem of having to circle parking lots

Second Place: Calvin Moses, College of DuPage – AmpPost combines electric vehicle charging equipment with light posts. 

Third Place: Olivia Mikos, Hinsdale South High School - Aqua Safe is a 2-in-1 drowning prevention product that consists of a child bracelet and parent bracelet that sends direct vibrational alerts to the parent bracelet once your child falls into the water. 

“These exceptional individuals stood out from their peers with groundbreaking ideas, thought-out business plans, and potential for market success.” Said Dan Facchini, Managing Director of Innovation DuPage

In addition to the cash prizes awarded to the top three companies, all eight finalists received complimentary six-month membership to Innovation DuPage to help these entrepreneurs develop their business ideas.  “Membership at Innovation DuPage will grant these students access to a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, networking opportunities, and a supportive community dedicated to helping them turn their ideas into successful ventures.”

The contest winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges: 

Additionally, support from the DuPage Foundation and the Perma-Seal Fund of the DuPage Foundation was critical to entrepreneurship in our community. Their funding made it possible to provide cash prizes to the winners and create an environment conducive to fostering innovation and economic growth.

The entire Big Idea Pitch Competition was streamed live on Innovation DuPage's Facebook page, allowing a global audience to witness the excitement and witness the incredible talent on display. For those who missed the live event, the recorded video is now available for viewing at

“Innovation DuPage is committed to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs, fostering innovation, and driving economic growth in our community.” Said Facchini.   “The Big Idea Pitch Competition is a testament to creating a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, and we are thankful for the support of the DuPage Foundation and the Perma-Seal Fund of the DuPage Foundation for innovative youth education initiatives.”  

About Innovation DuPage: Innovation DuPage is a collaborative innovation hub located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Our mission is to foster entrepreneurship and drive economic growth by providing a supportive ecosystem for startups, small businesses, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Through a range of programs, resources, and partnerships, we empower innovators to turn their ideas into thriving ventures. For more information, please visit

About the DuPage Foundation: Established in 1986 to raise the quality of life throughout DuPage County, we help area residents and organizations realize their unique charitable goals, provide impactful support to our community’s not-for-profits, and foster key partnerships to address critical issues affecting DuPage County. For more information, please visit

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