UW-Parkside’s Juan Torres Meza wins local qualifier for Big Idea state competition

MBA student to represent Parkside April 22 at UW-Whitewater


UW-Parkside is one of 13 four-year campuses in the University of Wisconsin System. Located in Somers, Wisconsin, between Racine and Kenosha on 700 acres with natural prairies and woodlands. 4,300 students.

Juan Torres Meza was announced the winner of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Big Idea Local Qualifying Competition recently.

Juan Torres Meza

Meza, an MBA student at Parkside, presented his Biz Optimization Idea that will develop a consulting business targeting minority and disadvantaged businesses, offering needed assistance in finance, strategic planning, and business management. 

He will represent Parkside at the 2023 WiSys Big Idea Statewide Tournament on Saturday, April 22 at UW-Whitewater.  The WiSys Big Idea Tournament is an entrepreneurship competition open to undergraduate and graduate students attending University of Wisconsin System schools across the state (except UW-Madison). The competition teaches cutting-edge lean startup business development tools, provides business mentorship and allows participants to compete at the state level for a chance to win seed funding for their idea.

Two undergraduate students tied for second place in the local qualifier — Dayana Gamez and Samantha Ramirez. Gamez is developing AscensiStars, a specialized coaching business to help people achieve their human potential.  Ramirez presented Zipies, a revolutionary winter boot that seamlessly converts into a platform-style high heel with just one zip, providing both fashion and practicality in cold weather conditions. 

Other creative projects presented by students included developing a hempcrete business and musical videos to capture youth experiences growing up in southeast Wisconsin.

Judges for the local qualifier competition at Parkside were Jason Blumenfeld, Associate Vice President at Johnson Financial Group, Tom Nelson, Managing Director of T G Nelson Company, LLC, and Cameron Vetter, Principal Architect of the Octavian Technology Group

Participants in the competition represented disciplines from across the university, and were at various stages of their college careers. 

“The competition always reminds us of how much creativity is present in our young folks,” said Peggy James, Interim Director of the Center for Research in Innovation and Smart Cities, the sponsor of the competition. “It is the job of the university to encourage and nourish the innovative thoughts of our students.”

For more information on The Big Idea contact James at james@uwp.edu.