5 Minutes, 5 Judges, 5 Thousand Dollars… 5×5 Night is Back!

5 Minutes, 5 Judges, 5 Thousand Dollars… 5×5 Night is Back!

Every single one of us has had a moment where we wonder: “Why haven’t they invented that yet?” And there is a way to bring those ideas to life. 5×5 Night, presented by emerge West Michigan, is where you should look for local support for your bright idea. emerge is a regional web portal to connect entrepreneurs and businesses in West Michigan to the resources they need to succeed. Their mission is to ensure that local businesses can thrive and become long-lasting staples of the area while fostering the sharing and formation of new ideas among those businesses.

Logo courtesy of 5x5 and Emerge West Michigan
Logo courtesy of 5×5 and emerge West Michigan

5×5 Night is their way to bring new ideas into the limelight and allow those idea-makers to present their creativity to a panel of judges for the chance to receive up to $5,000 in grant money to launch their idea into reality. 5×5 Night began in 2011 and has helped nearly 20 entrepreneurs see their ideas come to life, with past winners ranging from Steve Zaagman’s Upside Down Movie Night event to Ambrose, a “Collaborative Design and Print Lab” focusing on community empowerment through arts education.

The grants are unrestricted, and any type of idea is allowed for submission: art projects, business pitches, inventions, or community projects.

Photo courtesy of 5x5 and Emerge West Michigan
Photo courtesy of 5×5 and emerge West Michigan

Submitting an idea isn’t as intimidating as you would think. How it works:

1. After registering as a member on the 5×5 website (this can be done using a Facebook account or a traditional email address), you can begin submitting ideas for voting.

2. The submission process requires a description of your idea, how it is unique from the other competitors’ ideas, and what you plan to do with the five thousand dollars if you were to win. Then they ask for a few details about yourself, and that’s it– your idea has been submitted! If you have more than one brilliant idea, there doesn’t seem to be any set limit for the number of ideas each member is allowed to submit, so have at it!

3. Now that your idea is out there for the world to see, you have to let it shine. The other members of the website will vote for the ideas that they think are most worthy of the grant. You can vote for your favorites, too. Peruse the site and find those diamonds in the rough! Each member has 5 votes that they can place on any of the submitted ideas. Voting closes the week before the 5×5 Night event.

4. If your idea is chosen as one of the top 5, then you’ll get the chance to attend the 5×5 event and pitch your idea to a panel of 5 judges. Similar to a Pecha Kucha, you have 5 minutes to present 5 slides about your idea and how you think it could create a large impact on the industry.

5. After you’ve pitched your idea to the judges, they will deliberate and decide which idea would succeed with the money. They choose one winner for each 5×5 Night event.

Photo courtesy of 5x5 and emerge West Michigan
Photo courtesy of 5×5 and emerge West Michigan

The next 5×5 Night is coming up on July 28th at 5:00pm in the Start Garden at 40 Pearl St. NW in Grand Rapids. Submitting for that event began on June 17 at noon. If you can’t submit before the nest event, don’t fret, you can submit for the next round of voting right after the voting period is over. And if your idea wasn’t chosen to be presented, don’t give up, you can resubmit your idea for the next round.

What big ideas do you have? Comment below, then go and submit them to 5×5 Night for your chance to win $5,000!