MADISON, Wis. (2/27/08)--Aspiring entrepreneurs can test their ideas with The Big Idea Evaluator, an online business readiness tool developed by the Filene Research Institute’s i3 innovation group. The evaluator is based on respondents’ answers to questions in three categories: market, management and money. It provides feedback, offers advice and suggests resources to refine business plans. “It’s an opportunity for credit unions to provide business-friendly services that promise significant rewards in future business deposit and lending services,” said Lisa Renner, i3 member and CU Holding Company president/CEO. “It is just one tool that credit unions can use to attract boomers and provide services that contribute to the bottom line.” Baby boomers are forming small businesses at a higher rate than any other age group, and are more likely to see credit unions as relevant providers of financial services. “When we help members take their business ideas from conception to implementation, we are in an excellent position to earn their business checking and other deposit relationships,” Renner said. “For years the industry has looked for ways to attract younger members, ignoring the opportunity staring us in the face. We own this age group, and it’s just a matter of anticipating their next need so we can help them turn their dreams into reality,” she added. Also, i3 has launched the “What’s The Big Idea Challenge,” a three-question, online application that outlines the member’s business proposition. Mazuma CU in Kansas City, Mo., is piloting the challenge. Mazuma will accept entries through March 31. The challenge is open to members and non-members. The winner will receive a $3,000 marketing package with logo and stationery design, and printing.