Seventh annual Brewed Ideas Challenge goes online for live pitch competition May 1

April 27, 2020

Brewed Ideas LogoMILWAUKEE — Marquette University’s Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation Initiative and Milwaukee-based Brady Corporation will partner for the seventh annual Brewed Ideas Challenge on Friday, May 1, awarding $21,000 in prizes, during a virtual live pitch competition.

With safer at home orders in place, the Shark Tank-style student pitch competition will be held online, this year internationally. Students will participate in the annual business plan competition from their hometowns, representing five states, as well as Puerto Rico and the countries of Colombia and Peru.

“This is not how we envisioned our seventh Brewed Ideas Challenge,” said Kelsey Otero, associate director of social innovation, “but this new format is adding a whole new level of engagement and excitement to the competition.”

“We have had a tremendous response from our alumni, faculty and local business leaders who all want to watch virtually and support the students,” said Megan Carver, associate director of the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship. “By being online, there is an increased opportunity for exposure of these ideas, as well as the opportunity to connect with these students in their hometowns”

The event is open to members of the general public. Registration is required and is available online. Students will begin presenting their ideas to the judges at 1 p.m. with winners announced at 4:30 p.m.

Ten finalists will compete in one of two tracks: social venture and traditional business. The finalists are mentored by leaders at Brady Corporation and are participating in virtual workshops led by the 707 Hub leading up to the live pitch event.

The finalists include:

  • Best Face Forward Retractable Badge Reel, a badge reel which always turns badge the right way
  • STAINED, a sustainable and trendsetting luxury streetwear brand
  • The Color of English, an educational curriculum that teaches students how to build great sentences
  • NABI, a sneaker consignment store
  • Jamr, an app to connect musicians for jam sessions
  • JD BNB LLC - Short Term Rentals, providing short term lodging in the Milwaukee area
  • Minority Scholars Mentoring Program, a program aiming to improve minority student retention
  • JBV Piston, a revolutionary piston design that increases engine efficiency and fuel economy
  • 0 Accreditation by Kratos Experiences, focused on up-skilling for the fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Parcelyze, an integrated Internet of Things technology solution for parcel mailbox companies

The competition will be judged by executives from Brady Corporation.

The Brewed Ideas Challenge is sponsored by the Brady Foundation and programmed by the 707 Hub, which houses the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative. This is the seventh year Marquette and Brady Corporation have partnered on pitch competitions. The program has awarded more than $100,000 during that time. Former winners include: Sendgineering, a 2-1 bit; Complete Shaping, bilateral mastectomy apparel; Bridge the City Podcast; Thrift/ed, a platform for college students to buy and sell products without leaving campus; and Bimbley, a search platform for senior housing options.

“Brady Corporation is proud to continue to support the Brewed Ideas Challenge,” said Kate Venne, director of corporate communications for Brady Corporation. “Each year our employees look forward to working with the talented students who bring forward some really creative ideas. This partnership highlights innovation and community engagement, two things the Brady Foundation is passionate about.”

Last year, OLUOMO, a Nigerian women's fashion company, won the social innovation track competition. Liv a Little Vegan Ice Cream, a homemade vegan-friendly ice cream made from coconut-based products, won in the traditional business track.

The 707 Hub is Marquette University’s innovation incubator; a place where ideas are shared, stretched, challenged and realized. It is home to the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and the Social Innovation Initiative.

Brady Corporation is an international manufacturer and marketer of complete solutions that identify and protect people, products and places. Brady’s products help customers increase safety, security, productivity and performance, and include high-performance labels, signs, safety devices, printing systems and software. Founded in 1914, the company has a diverse customer base in electronics, telecommunications, manufacturing, electrical, construction, medical, aerospace and a variety of other industries.

Brady is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and, as of July 31, 2019, employed approximately 6,100 people in its worldwide businesses. Brady’s fiscal 2019 sales were approximately $1.16 billion. Brady stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BRC. More information is available at The Brady Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations in the communities where Brady employees live and work by supporting projects that align with the Brady values of unlocking potential, protecting our future or differentiating through innovation and that focus on developing leadership, strengthening communities and educational programming.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or