Course Overview

What’s the Big Idea is part of the experiential entrepreneurship program at Syracuse University that supports student startups. This course teaches high school students how to imagine, create, and build a business or nonprofit organization. Learn how to think creatively, develop ideas, and build the foundation for a successful business or nonprofit organization. This course includes innovative and design-thinking, making the pitch, customer discovery, and an introduction to the incubators and resources at Syracuse University that will help you pursue your venture regardless of your major.

Students have the option of taking this course as credit or noncredit. If taking the course as credit, students will receive 3 college credits toward IDS 301 – What’s the Big Idea?.

Note that this course is open to Syracuse University undergrads.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit or noncredit transcript.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Have an understanding and appreciation of innovation and design-thinking techniques
  • Understand how to make a persuasive elevator pitch
  • Know how to do customer discovery
  • Understand the value of college incubators and the resources provided
Syracuse University Summer College precollege business student

“In Business Innovation, Design… we were taught by industry experts, guest speakers, and [had] lessons filled with practical examples of what we’d be up against in the real world. The professor was very accessible and personable, which made learning more engaging. Speaking to classmates, doing product research, and then presenting my ideas to the entire class was an unbelievably rewarding experience and gave me skills that I will use throughout my entire professional career.”

— Daniel B., Summer College – Online Business Innovation, Design, and Startups Student, 2020

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number:

  • Credit: IDS 301
  • Noncredit: SCN 071

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore*, junior, or senior status – or a 2022 high school graduate. 
*Rising sophomores are only eligible for the noncredit version of this course.

Credit: 3 Credits or Noncredit


  • Credit: A-F
  • Noncredit: Pass/Fail


3 Credits:

  • Residential: $4,385
  • Commuter: $3,530


  • Residential: $3,585
  • Commuter: $2,730

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus 2-Week Session III: Sunday, July 31 – Friday, Aug. 12, 2022MTWThF
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
3 Credits or NoncreditClosed
Class will break for lunch daily for approximately one hour. Class times subject to change.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Students must attend class on campus Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

End Event

There will be a final Big Idea pitch presentation on the final day of class. Parents are welcome to attend!

Faculty Bios

Bruce Kingma

Professor Kingma has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Rochester and a B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago. His research includes publications on the economics of information, libraries, and technology; entrepreneurship; and online education. Professor Kingma teaches in the Whitman School of Management and the School of Information Studies. He is the former Provost for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Syracuse University. Provost Kingma has developed award-winning programs in entrepreneurship, innovation, and community engagement across the Syracuse University campus and Central New York.

Additional courses you might like…