The contest is designed to be an academic year-long process that assists students in developing the skills necessary to launch successful projects (e.g., critical thinking and reflection, market analysis, and pitch development skills). In other words, the underlying logic of the Contest assumes that students apply with creative ideas designed to make social impact, and are provided with resources designed to assist them in making their project ideas feasible, scalable, and appropriate for the population they wish to serve.
Further, the Contest encourages and creates a platform for global social changemakers. Business plan or entrepreneurship competitions are designed to vet entrepreneurs, but the ultimate goal of Big Ideas is to support students as they create lasting, positive social change. As a result, winning projects may be entrepreneurial and create for-profit ventures, but they, more importantly, focus on social challenges. As a result, Big Ideas teams tackle issues such as improving smallholder farmer incomes, creating transparency around political platforms, providing dental care for the homeless, and bringing light to hospitals and clinics in rural Africa.