Big IDEAS is more than a curriculum. It is a person-centered approach designed with RICE Stakeholder’ needs in mind. The Big IDEAS curriculum was created by business leaders around the country to help them develop an action plan for creating sustainable businesses. Step by step, the Inspire, Develop, Execute, Accelerate, and Scale stages teach vital concepts. As they participate in this series, RICE Stakeholder learn to create a business model, develop a problem statement, evaluate customer clarity, assess the profitability of their offerings, promote team engagement, leverage key partnerships, optimize the supply chain, and more!

Big IDEAS is a model that is continuous, experiential, and individualized. It provides a new way forward that is rooted in collaboration, culture, and a community of support.

Where are you on your journey?

To find out, follow the Big IDEAS cycle.
Click a letter below to learn more.

I INSPIRE EXECUTE E S SCALE A ACCELERATE FROM INSPIRETO CONCEPT Exploring entreprenership andstarting an ideationdiscovery journey. FROM COMPANYTO CUSTOMERS Execution trumpseverything inbusiness. We act,then we learn. FROM CONCEPTTO COMPANY Validating thefeasibility, desirability,and viability of aspecific concept. FROM CUSTOMERSTO GROWTH Building a strongerbusiness model andrapidly moving thecompany forward. FROM DOERTO OWNER Supporting ContinuedSuccess with real-timeassistance andindividualized support. D DEVELOP


The Inspire stage is a safe place to explore your curiosities about entrepreneurship and strengthen your entrepreneurial mindset.

This is where you can ask and investigate questions like “Is entrepreneurship for me? Is this idea worth building on? How do I create a business plan?” Together we will help you answer these questions and get you on the path to starting a successful business. During this stage, you will:

  1. Establish your BIG IDEA
  2. Develop your Business Plan
  3. Identify your target customer

In this stage, we offer services such as:

  • GMEN — GoDaddy training
  • Website development academies
  • And other exciting programs to help you along your entrepreneurial journey


This is the most critical stage in building a sustainable business. It is where you will lay the building blocks for the next stages. Together we will perform a detailed analysis of the problem you are trying to solve, identify and test the market, and assess the level of demand. In this stage, you will:

  1. Complete a customer discovery process
  2. Develop a working business model
  3. Establish a minimal viable product or service
During this stage, we’ll offer services such as:
  • The Building your Brand Academy
  • An accounting and trademarking session
  • And other exciting programs to help you along your entrepreneurial journey


EXECUTION trumps EVERYTHING in business. You DO. Then you LEARN!

Most startups fail. Why? They start executing before they have a sound business model. What about you? Have you discovered a scalable and profitable business model yet? After the Customer Discovery Bootcamp, you will have identified the core of your business model—your customer segment and value proposition. Or you may discover there isn’t one. And that’s OK, too. It’s better to find out now than after spending years and a fortune, only to discover you were wrong.

In this stage, we offer services such as:

  • Access to RICE partners and resources as needed.
  • And other exciting programs to help you along your entrepreneurial journey


The Accelerate stage is the marathon that helps you build a stronger business model. This is where you have to change the pace at which you plan for scale and manage risk. During this stage, we will prepare your business to take on high-growth opportunities in various markets. In this stage, you’ll explore:

  1. Evaluate product or service operations
  2. Create a portrait of your customer base
  3. Implement an IP strategy

In this stage, we offer services such as:

  • A deep-dive business analysis plan with help from partners like Chase Bank
  • B2G, B2C, and B2B academy intensives
  • And other exciting programs to help you along your entrepreneurial journey


Entrepreneurs who demonstrate a deep knowledge of their customers and markets while achieving strong traction are our Pacesetter companies in the Scale stage of the Big IDEAS continuum.

In this stage, we demand your best, both professionally and personally.

Pacesetters focus on evidence-based, experiential, applied execution to build your business. So the Pacesetters Studio is designed to maximize session time with shared coaching and community building. Each business will be assigned a quarterback coach to help solve problems, access important resources, and keep you connected. 

In this stage, we offer services such as:

  • Access to your personal office space at RICE
  • CEO roundtables with RICE partners
  • Access to the RICE Speaker Series
  • 1-on-1s with RICE entrepreneurs-in-residence
  • And other exciting programs to help you along your entrepreneurial journey.




Pacesetters Studio is RICE’s premier program for the entrepreneurs in our community that supports 10 growth-stage Black-led companies selected for a two-year in-house entrepreneur studio experience. Anchored by Ernst and Young’s trademarked Velocity platform and RICE’s signature curriculum, Pacesetters collaborate with some of the biggest names in business. These high-potential companies receive superior access and support in wraparound services to accelerate and strengthen their growth, profitability, and scale. Partner organizations include Google, Chase Bank, Accenture, King and Spalding, and others that believe in creating jobs, strengthening the community, increasing wealth, and setting the pace for others to follow.

Doll Avant
Founder & CEO Aquagenuity
Michael Astwood

President & CEO

ASRT, Inc.

Al Vivian
President & CEO Basic Diversity, Inc.
Evana & Zoe Oli
President & Co-Founder Beautiful Curly Me
Terri-Nichelle Bradley
Founder & CEO Brown Toy Box
Horace Williams
Founder & CEO Empowrd
Carolyn Pitt
Founder & CEO
Yvonne & Randall Dragon
Co-Founders The Dragon Group
Brandon Fleming & Kellye Britton

Founder & Co-Founder / CEO & Director of Operations
Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project

Shareef Abdul-Malik


We Buy Black

Our faculty includes several prominent business leaders.