The Continuing Evolution of BPlan Competitions

Just read an interesting story by Kimberly Cornuelle covering BU’s Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC) competition. In this competition, there will be real time voting for finalists by audience members. While it doesn’t appear that these votes are not counted in a specific way, according to the article, the judges will take audience votes into account.

While the decision of the judges — a panel of venture capitalists and business leaders — will not be based solely on the number of votes, Goldstein says votes in favor of a particular team can only help. “The judges will definitely take the votes into consideration,” she says. “They will be looking at the actual plan proposed, how the finalists articulated their goals, plus the audience votes.”

This is an twist in determining the winners of a competition that I had not seen before. The business plan competiton has come a long way from its birth at the University of Texas. And it is good to see that different competitions are trying different techniques to expand the reach of business plan competitions.

As discussed previously, we have seen social venture competitions, corporate sponsored competitions, media led efforts, economic development competitions (ie Gov’s Contest in Wisconsin), market based competitions (ie the Boomer Contest), and online contests (ie, StartupNation). This latest innovation is cool because it brings the audience into the contests and presumbly asks them to consider the viability and growth potential of the firms presenting. Ideally this helps spread ‘the gospel’ and ‘ideals’ of entrepreneurship.

From the article,

The final projects are AutoNAIS, which proposes a new product that helps biologists save time and effort with sample preparation; RemesaTel, which hopes to provide inexpensive access to credit and trading opportunities through mobile text messaging in Mexico; Nakama Media, which will sell its online multimedia language learning tool MediaLesson in Japan and Korea, and Essense Medical, which develops disposable medical tools, initially focused on colorectal cancer, to diagnose and treat cancer in real time.

One thought on “The Continuing Evolution of BPlan Competitions

  1. Thanks David. What a good idea — the BU one — and why not? I was at the Rice 2008 Business Plan Contest last week. They had more than 100 finals judges, each with a ballot, which ends up with a very similar result. It definitely fills the auditorium and adds a lot of energy to the event. Tim.

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