The Brewed Ideas Challenge is an annual pitch competition hosted by Marquette University’s 707 Hub in partnership with Brady Corporation. Open to current students, this program focuses on ‘brewing’ and growing innovative ideas, products, and services, right here on campus. Prior to the competition, we offer a 4-week crash course called the Brewed Ideas Bootcamp to help validate your idea before applying for the Brewed Ideas Challenge.  If you need some inspiration or want to learn more about past Challenges, check out some of the ideas from last year's finalists.


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Brewed Ideas Challenge

The Brewed Ideas Challenge is our version of a shark tank pitch event.  The goal is to "Brew" innovative ideas and foster the entrepreneurial mindset at Marquette. The competition is open to current Marquette students and hosted by the 707 Hub, in partnership with Brady Corporation. Finalists receive mentorship support from Brady Corporation leading up to the competition to help refine and perfect their ideas/ventures. Finalists will pitch their ideas before for a panel of judges and guests.  The challenge will end with a reception where we will hand out $21,000 in funding to the winning teams. 

There are two tracks: 

1) social venture track 

2) traditional business track 

Timeline of Events

Brewed Ideas Bootcamp: January 31 & February 7,14, & 21 | 5:00-6:30 p.m. | 707 Hub

Applications due: February 25

Mentor breakfast: March 5 | 8:00-9:00 a.m. | 707 Hub

Pitch practice: April 5 | 707 Hub

Brewed Ideas Challenge: April 12 | 1:00-5 p.m. | 707 Hub

Timeline of Event: 1:00 PM | Welcome

 1:15 PM | Student Pitches

 3:00 PM | Updates From Past Winners 

 3:30 PM | Reception

 4:30 PM | Winners Announced


Judging Criteria 

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

2019 Judges 

Thomas Felmer

President, Workplace Safety

Thomas Felmer Mr. Felmer is president of Brady’s Workplace Safety Business, which   focuses on safety solutions that are sold via internet, catalog and direct   sales channels. Currently, Mr. Felmer is overseeing the transformation of   this business to incorporate a strong digital sales model. He has been with   Brady since 1989, holding several sales and marketing positions before   being named President and General Manager of Brady’s U.S. Signmark   Division in 1994. Since then he helped to grow Brady’s European direct   marketing business, as well as US global sales and marketing processes.   In 2004, he was appointed President-Direct Marketing Americas, and was   named Chief Financial Officer in January 2008. Mr. Felmer has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.


Katie Milbeck

Senior Manager, Innovation Incubator at Brady Corporation 

Katie MilbeckKatie Milbeck has worked in R&D at Brady for over 16 years. While attending college at the University of Iowa, Katie held both internship and co-op positions on the Brady Systems Engineering team. After graduation, she was hired as a project engineer and worked on the Systems team in various positions, including engineering and program management roles. In the summer of 2015 Katie transitioned to a management role on the IDS Software team, managing a portion of the Brady Safety Software platform. As of April 2018, she accepted the role of Senior Manager, Innovation Incubator driving Brady's long-term innovation strategies.


Asim Khan

Co-founder of ZYN Holistic Wellness 

 Asim KhanZYN founder, Asim Khan, was born and raised in Pakistan, but moved to       Chicago with his family at a young age. He spent a good portion of his career in investment banking and private equity before leaving and launching ZYN with his brother Qasim. Zyn drink products are unique and healthy because they use curcumin, the source of Turmeric's health benefits.

ZYN aspires to be an ethically, socially and environmentally responsible company. Currently, they are MBE certified and a Certified B-Corp, a status reserved for for-profit businesses who maintain rigorous levels of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Asim graduated from Marquette University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting & finance.


Marianne Szymanski

Founder and President at Toy Tips Inc.

Marianne SzymanskiMarianne Szymanski is founder and president of Toy Tips, Inc., an independent international child development research group that conducts on-going academic and scientific research on products from the toy and juvenile product industries. Marianne has led her organization in unbiased testing of over 34,000 products from more than 900 manufacturers.

Marianne has been an active media personality for more than 25 years. Her segments appear on media outlets including Oprah, CNN, FOX and hundreds of domestic and international television stations. She was a cast member on Good Morning America for eight years and currently is a regular guest on FOX News in Chicago, offering viewers her research results and opinion on the latest toys and consumer products.

Marianne also teaches two entrepreneurship courses at the University of Southern California. 


See what The Brewed Ideas Challenge looks like

(click to enlarge)

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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.