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Best Buy Launches $100,000 College Innovator Fund

Calling all college students with big ideas: The winner of this competition stands to take home $50,000.

You already know Best Buy as a gadget store, and a big-box chain at that. Not exactly the stuff of big, innovative ideas. But now the retailer is trying to change that--with the help of a few good entrepreneurs.  

On Monday Best Buy announced the launch of its $100,000 College Innovator Fund, which it's calling a "national search for the next big ideas."

The fund will give the winners--all of whom must be college students--cash prizes and a chance to receive additional advising from the company. The prizes will go to applicants with the best product or software idea focused on technology, sustainability, education, or related fields. The first-place winner will receive $50,000, the two runners-up will each get $20,000, and the fan favorite will receive a $10,000 prize.

In order to apply, college students are encouraged to visit Best Buy’s Facebook page and record a two-minute video explaining their idea. The idea, TechCrunch reports, can be in any stage of development: from an initial concept to a fully built product. The contest will end August 14 when a panel of judges will announce the contest’s 10 finalists. The judges include Best Buy Digital President Stephen Gillett, Pandora Founder and CSO Tim Westergren, uBeam founder Meredith Perry, and others. Winners will be named September 17.

“At Best Buy we understand the impact that technology and entrepreneurialism can have on our society," Gillett said in a press release. “Students are often at the helm of this forward thinking so what better time to provide a national platform to help them introduce and support these ideas than during the back to campus season.

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