The Purdue University Calumet Big Sell Entrepreneurship Competition will bring together innovators and entrepreneurs from across the United States on Saturday, March 29. Participants will be competing for thousands of dollars in cash, accounting, marketing and legal services as well as business plan assistance and office space at the Hammond Innovation Center.

Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, believes the competition can result in an increase of visitors to the South Shore.

"The Big Sell attracts people from across the nation to our area, showing them that Northwest Indiana is supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship," said Batistatos. "This competition gives the South Shore a chance to entice entrepreneurs to open their small business here, providing visitors with more options while in the area."

The Big Sell will be hosted at Radisson Hotel Star Plaza. Tickets cost $25 per person and include a continental breakfast, lunch and snacks, the ability to electronically vote for the best ideas presented and the opportunity to network with business professionals.

Registration and continental breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m. and the competition and voting begins at 9:00 a.m. During lunch, a keynote address will be given by James Dreher, founder and managing partner of Option 3. Once finalists are named, a final pitch will be presented beginning at 2:00 p.m. The winner's finale will begin at 2:30 p.m.

The Big Sell's expert panel of judges includes Batistatos, Dreher, Donald L. Babcock, director of economic development for Northern Indiana Public Service Company and David Bochnowski, chairman and CEO of Peoples Bank.

For more information on the event or to submit an application to compete, visit