Co-founder of Cordelia Biosciences holds check for $25,000.

Cordelia Biosciences wins 2024 Big Idea Competition

Two people hold prize check of $25,000 for Cordelia Biosciences.

Entrepreneurship Program Director Jamie Kraft presents award to Tittl Nielson.

Cordelia Biosciences won first place in this year’s Big Idea Competition. Founded by ecological scientists Jessica Tittl Nielsen (PhD ’24) and Monica Schul (PhD ’25), Cordelia Biosciences is a biotechnical startup that uses natural, microscopic organisms from the ocean to create a sustainable chemical portfolio. The company seeks to safeguard the planet’s ecosystems while revolutionizing the chemical industry and, as a company founded, owned and operated by women, is also dedicated to giving female scientists and businesswomen the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“I think that in many ways winning this award is the ultimate validation of what we’ve built and accomplished with our company,” Tittl Nielsen said. “This is actually the third time we’ve competed in the Big Idea [Competition]. The first year we started out with the concept of being a consulting company to help chemical companies innovate using microbes and biomimicry, and when Monica joined in December of 2022 we pivoted to the idea of creating these chemicals ourselves and serving as the innovation arm for chemical companies.

“Coming back and winning this year just shows that we’ve finally found the right path for our business and really just highlights the incredible progress we’ve made.”

With the first-place award of $25,000, the co-founders intend to use the funds to strengthen the credibility of Cordelia Biosciences through safety and efficacy testing on the chemicals they have extracted and building a strong IP portfolio around their technology. After completing these steps, they will be prepared to invite investors to support their mission to create sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives to harsh chemicals.

Co-founders of Cordelia Biosciences hold Social Impact Award.

Cordelia Biosciences also received an award for social and global impact.

“Our company is founded in biomimetic principles,” Tittl Nielsen said. “Nature makes chemicals every day that work with the environment; if we can tap into the power of nature, we can ensure the products that go down our drains are good for our planet.”

Presented by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center of the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, the Big Idea Competition is a four-month event designed to help students grow their business ideas with a chance to win more than $50,000 in prizes. The competition celebrates student entrepreneurs and their ingenuity to turn a big dream into a sustainable venture.

Check out all the winners from the 2024 Big Idea Competition below.

First place ($25,000): Cordelia Biosciences

Second place ($10,000): Gator Guard Mouthguard

Third place ($5,000): MetaForce

Fourth place ($1,000): Rebel Supplements

Special Award Winners

Best Artificial Intelligence ($5,000): Healing Hub

FNN Global Impact Award ($1,000): Cordelia Biosciences

Dreamer and Doer Award ($1,000): Knol

Entrepreneurial Spirit ($1,000): S Star Technologies 

Presenting Sponsors

Brian Ray


Jason Alpert

Sudhir Chapnerkar

Caroline Comeau

Patrick de la Roza

Seyi Falade

Hedy Foreman

Sean Frans

Leslie Giscombe

Terry Hedden

Alex King

Bill Poellmitz

Bill Rossi

Mark Schnitzius

Jeremy Sloane

Jackson Streeter

Quang Tran

Brian Beach

Darin Cook

Jesse Eisner

Ethan Fieldman

Adam Losey

Scott Pressley

Leigh Radford

Sue Washer