The Brewed Ideas Challenge is the annual Shark Tank-style pitch competition hosted by Marquette University’s Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative in partnership with Brady Corporation now in it’s 8th year of operation. The goal of Brewed Ideas is to “brew” innovative ideas, recognizing and rewarding budding entrepreneurs by offering seed money to help them advance their ideas. This program focuses on the innovation happening right here on campus and is open to all Marquette students.


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Brewed Ideas Challenge

Over the course of Brewed Ideas, you will have the opportunity to build meaningful mentor relationships with Brady employees, go behind the scenes at Brady, and attend 4 workshops geared to help you develop your ideas, build rapport with your mentors, and further explore the world of innovation.

Brewed Ideas offers participants from each track, traditional business and social innovation tracks, the opportunity to receive generous seed money and awards recognizing their innovation and initiative. First-place winners receive $7,500 in seed money. Second-place winners receive $2,000 in seed money. Winners of the Audience Choice and Brady Innovation awards receive $1,000 in seed money.

If you’re in need of some inspiration or want to learn more about past challenges, check out some of the ideas from last year's finalists!

Judging Criteria 

Judges will evaluate project proposals, submissions and final pitches. Review judging criteria.

Brewed Ideas 2020 Winners

Social Innovation Track 

  • 1st place: The Color of English- Teaching students how to build great sentences
  • 2nd place: 4.0 Certification by Kratos- Up-skilling for the 4th Industrial Revolution

Traditional Business Track  

  • 1st place: JD BNB LLC - Short Term Rentals- Provides short term lodging to the Milwaukee area
  • 2nd place: Best Face Forward Retractable Badge Reel- Turns badge the right way

Both the Social Innovation Track and Traditional Business Track are eligible for the Audience Choice Award and/or Brady Innovation Award. 

  • Audience Choice: JBV Piston- Distributes oil throughout engines 
  • Brady Innovation Award: Stained- Trendsetting luxury streetwear brand

2019 Judges 

Thomas Felmer

President, Workplace Safety at Brady Corporation

Katie Milbeck

Senior Manager, Innovation Incubator at Brady Corporation  

Asim Khan

Co-founder of ZYN Holistic Wellness 

Marianne Szymanski

Founder and President at Toy Tips Inc.

See what The Brewed Ideas Challenge looks like

(click to enlarge)

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Brewed Ideas 2019 Brewed Ideas 2019 Brewed Ideas 2019

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Brewed Ideas Bootcamp

Are you a current Marquette University student working on a new idea for a product or service but need help moving your idea forward? Look no further than the Brewed Ideas Bootcamp! In four weeks, students will validate the market need for their idea, refine their business model and value proposition. In addition, students will receive legal advice, one-on-one business coaching and access to free marketing tools.